The European Union will give as many as one million Syrian refugees in Turkey free debit cards to cover living expenses.
The debit cards are part of 3 million euro aid package from the EU to Turkey, in accordance with a deal struck in March to curb the refugee influx. Around $393 million has been set aside for monthly transfers to the debit cards.
It’s unclear how much money will be uploaded to the card each month, but that it will be enough to make ends meet.
“They will be able to buy what they need to put bread on the table for their families, to provide a roof for their families, to send their children to school instead of being forced to send them to work,” EU’s Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides said Thursday.
The aid package follows a summer of frosty relations following the July 15 military coup in Turkey. European leaders refused to back Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who in return threatened to rip up the migrant deal.
Cooperation on humanitarian assistance has still remained “excellent” with Turkish authorities, according to Stylianides.
Some eurosceptic politicians think the debit card program is a step in the wrong direction, as it may give migrants more incentives to reach Europe.
“This doesn’t look like a solution,” Nigel Mills, a British member of parliament from the Conservative Party, told The Sun. “It could create an ever bigger problem on the edge of Europe.”
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