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Committee supports contributing to EU's refugee facility in Turkey

Toompea Castle, the seat of the Riigikogu.
Toompea Castle, the seat of the Riigikogu. Source: (Siim Lõvi/ERR)

The Riigikogu's Finance Committee supported the government's proposal on Monday to extend the period of use of the EU Facility for Refugees in Turkey. This also means a new financial contribution to the facility by Estonia.

"The committee supported the proposal with one vote against it, which was cast by Jaak Madison (EKRE) filling in for Martin Helme (EKRE)," committee chairman Mihhail Stalnuhhin (Center) told the Baltic News Service on Monday.

"Everyone else was in favor, as the experience of the last two years has shown that the money works and that the 3.5 million residents of Syria currently in Turkey actually are in Turkey, and not in Europe," Stalnuhhin added.

In 2016 Estonia paid altogether €2.79 million towards the budget of the European Union for the implementation of its Facility for Refugees in Turkey. Estonia's next contribution should be smaller, Stalnuhhin said.

"The Estonian government is against the idea of distributing €2 billion among member states to be paid directly," he said. He added that Estonia is in favor of as much of the refugee facility as possible to be paid from a joint budget, and a significantly smaller sum to be distributed among the member states. "Officials of the Finance Ministry and Foreign Ministry were present at the committee meeting, and said that this is likely how it will go," Stalnuhhin added.

The government supports the extension of the facility's period of use over 2018 and 2019, though it is in favor of funding as much of it as possible through the EU's joint budget, spokespeople said.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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