Cyprus: Anastasiades discusses EU's position on Turkey
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The European Commission announced that a package of over €14billion (£12billion) for the 2021-2027 Multiannual Financial Framework period has been agreed between the European Parliament and the European Council to fund Turkey and the Western Balkans.
The eye-watering financial package will serve as an instrument to support potential new members of the EU prepare on their paths towards membership.
The agreement will now be translated into legal texts, which will need to be approved by the European Parliament and the Council.
Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, said: “This long-awaited agreement on our ambitious financing assistance is a positive, welcome and strong signal for the Western Balkans and Turkey.
“The agreed package is a solid investment in the future of the enlargement region and the EU, supporting the implementation of key political, institutional, social and economic reforms to comply with EU standards and progressively align with its rules and policies.
“It will provide funding for the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, a key tool to underpin the economic recovery of this priority region.
“Through investments in key sectors including connectivity, infrastructure, environment and climate, as well as energy and digital, it will boost the convergence with the EU and bring tangible benefits for citizens.”
The package will provide support to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey with an overall budget of €14.162 billion in current prices for 2021-2027, starting retroactively from January 1, 2021.
In Turkey’s case, the funds will also serve to keep refugees from crossing into the EU.
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It comes as the EU also announced that it will test the use of “sound cannons” to deter migrants from reaching the bloc’s shores.
The aggressive policy is being tested by border patrols in migrant hotspots, including Greece, and involves heavy-duty vehicles emitting a high-pitched ringing noise.
Footage has emerged on social media of Greek border patrols testing the deafening piece of equipment.
High frequency waves can be heard being fired out of an armed truck close to the border with Turkey.
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The acoustic device is mounted on top of the vehicle and can be as loud as a jet engine.
The equipment forms part of new physical and digital barriers being installed along the border between Greece and Turkey.
Surveillance cameras, drones and a new steel wall has been erected to try and prevent crossing points along the Evros River.
Observation towers using artificial intelligence technology has also been installed to flag suspicious movements.
Testing of the so-called “sound cannons” has also been conducted in Hungary and Latvia.
At the height of the refugee crisis in 2015/2016, more than one million people are estimated to have fled into Europe, via Greece, to escape wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.
The European Union has pumped more than £3billion into security technology and research over the past five years.
Migration began to slow down after 2016 following an agreement between the European Union and Turkey to shut off the main corridor from its shores to the Greek islands.
Last year, Greece recorded a 78 percent decrease in the number of migrants.
Numbers fell from almost 75,000 in 2019 to 15,700 in 2020, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic and more stringent border controls.
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