The largest ever humanitarian program in the history of the EU, is now underway in Turkey.
The humanitarian effort comes in the form of a $393 million helicopter drop of Debit Cards and Cash to Refugees in Turkey as Part of Migration Deal.
As many as one million refugees in Turkey will receive debit cards and monthly cash transfers to help pay for food and housing under a new €348 million ($393 million) humanitarian program from the European Union announced on Thursday.
The EU’s largest-ever humanitarian program is part of a €3 billion package of assistance the bloc promised Turkey to support some three million refugees the country hosts, mainly from Syria.
“The European Union is keeping its promise to assist Turkey in hosting the largest refugee population in the world,” Mr. Stylianides said. When it comes to humanitarian assistance, “our cooperation with Turkish authorities has been excellent,” he added.
The new EU aid program will be overseen by the World Food Program, in cooperation with the Turkish Red Crescent. Each family’s need will be assessed individually and there are additional funds available for education or supporting elderly family members, Mr. Stylianides said.
Ertharin Cousin, the WFP’s executive director, said the debit-card project “is an exciting step forward.”
“The money spent by the refugees will go directly into local economies, giving a boost to communities so generously hosting refugees,” she added.
Of the €3 billion pledged, the EU has now earmarked projects valued at €2.2 billion for Turkey’s refugees, including humanitarian aid and programs to provide health, education and other services for migrants.
Of that amount, €652 million has been contracted and €181 million has been spent.
How Far Will €3 billion Go?
The EU pledged €3 billion. There are 3 million refugees.
If no more refugees arrive (fat chance), and none of the money disappears down some graft-hole (fat chance), then each refugee will get €1,000.
Exciting First Step
This is indeed an “exciting step”. Let’s look ahead at the logical progression of following steps.
- More refugees will seek free handouts.
- Turkey will complain €3 billion is not enough.
- The refugees will complain €1,000 is not enough.
- EU citizens will wonder why refugees are getting €1,000 and they are not.
- Demands for an EU-wide helicopter drop of free debit cards will soar.
- The amounts demanded will soar.
- Some economist will propose the debit cards will expire if not used quickly.
- And then, and then ….
Point eight requires an explanation:
Under Eurozone rules the ECB cannot simply print money and give it away. Countries have budget constraints.
So, either taxes go up to pay for the scheme, or the EMU rules have to change.
Place your bets. More excitement is sure to follow.