The European Union allocated €325 million ($367 million) in additional funding for refugees in Turkey, the European Commission announced Thursday, Anadolu Agency reports.
Extending the bloc's multi-purpose cash assistance scheme, the Emergency Social Safety Net, until early 2023, the financial support will provide refugees monthly transfers to cover the essential needs of rent, bills, food and medicine.
Visiting Turkey's capital, Ankara, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarcic, said the support would be "a critical lifeline for hundred thousands of families, many of whom have been especially hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic."
"This cash assistance enables them to decide for themselves what they need most urgently whilst contributing to the Turkish economy," he added, calling the program a "major achievement" for the EU and Turkey.
Last week, the European Parliament gave the final green light for providing €149.6 million ($168.7 million) for the extension of the program through early 2022, financed from the remaining margin of the 2021 EU budget.
The newly announced €325 million adds to this support to prolong the scheme for another year, covered by the €3 billion ($3.38 billion) support package European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, announced in June for refugees in Turkey.
Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.
Turkey already hosts four million refugees, more than any other country in the world, and is taking new security measures at its borders to humanely prevent a fresh influx of migrants.