Saturday, April 30, 2016

Reality Check: Will UK pay £1.8bn to Albania and Turkey?

BBCPresident of Albania Bujar Nishani (L) with European council President Donald Tusk next to a quote from Vote Leave: UK pays £1.8bn to help Albania and Turkey join the EU.”

The Claim: Vote Leave says the UK will be obliged to pay £1.8bn by 2020 to encourage Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey to join the EU.
Reality check verdict: Over a seven year period, £1.2bn of the UK's contributions to the EU Budget will go to seven candidate states. The UK committed another £250m towards helping Turkey support Syrian refugees for two years and might commit more in the future.
Vote Leave says the UK government will pay Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey a total of £1.2bn between 2014 and 2020 as part of the EU fund to help these countries to join the EU.
They say that the UK will pay Turkey a further £640m "as part of the recent EU-Turkey deal designed to facilitate Turkish accession to the EU", bringing the total to £1.84bn.
In 2014 the EU agreed to use a total of €11.7bn (£9.1bn) from its seven-year budget 2014-2020 to help seven EU candidate countries - Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo - make political and economic reforms.
Turkey, the largest of the seven countries, will receive a total of €4.5bn over the seven year period. Albania will receive €649m.
On the basis of the 2014-2020 EU fund, Vote Leave calculated the UK's share of the total the EU is spending on reforms in those seven countries.
The UK's contribution to the EU Budget varies from year to year. It has been around 12% to 13% of the total in recent years and the Treasury says it was 12.57% in 2015. Vote Leave used the UK's 2015 share of the total and 2014 exchange rates and arrived at the figure of £1.2bn as the UK contribution to the programme.
Of the seven countries helped by this EU fund, Turkey has progressed furthest in its pursuit of EU membership, but it is nevertheless unlikely to join in the next 10 years.

Deal on refugees

The second part of this claim, that the EU recently agreed a deal with Turkey "to facilitate Turkish accession to the EU" is incorrect.
The EU and Turkey signed a deal in November 2015 to support Syrian refugees in Turkey in an attempt to reduce the number of refugees crossing into Greece. The EU will provide €3bn over the next two years for this programme, €1bn of which will come from the EU budget and the rest from contributions from member states according to the size of their economies.
Germany, which has the biggest economy, will pay €428m, while the UK will pay €328m (£250m).
The UK's contribution will count towards the UK's aid target of 0.7% of national income.
In addition, the EU promised an extra €3bn for Turkey by 2018 if the first programme for supporting Syrian refugees is successfully completed. There is no detail on whether this would come out of the EU Budget or be met by bilateral contributions.

Read more: The facts behind claims in the EU debate

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