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Good morning. China’s Chamber of Commerce to the EU has attacked what it called a “dawn raid” by European Commission authorities on a Chinese security equipment supplier in the Netherlands and Poland. Brussels said the company “may have received foreign subsidies that could distort the internal market.”

Today, Laura and our Istanbul correspondent report on an audit of the EU’s controversial migration deal with Turkey. And our climate correspondent reports on a Finnish demand to better enforce a ban on Russian wood — and to be allowed to chop down more trees themselves.

Return on investment

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan drove a hard bargain when negotiating a €6bn migration deal with the EU some eight years ago.

According to the European Court of Auditors, Brussels only partly got its money’s worth, write Laura Dubois and Adam Samson.

Context: In 2016, Turkey agreed to take back Syrian refugees who had crossed into Europe in exchange for €6bn out of the EU budget, which contributed to border management but also healthcare, education, and cash transfer to refugees in Turkey. The funds were topped up by €3bn in 2021.

While the money has supported affected refugees and Turkish communities, the auditors found that “the facility could still have achieved greater value for money, and it could have shown more impact”, said responsible ECA member Bettina Jakobsen.

She said that the implementation of many projects was “delayed significantly” — some until 2025 — and that their impact was often unclear.

“A lack of political will on the side of the national authorities has limited the impact of some of the commission’s actions,” Jakobsen added.

Today’s report comes as refugees in Turkey — which now hosts about 3.2mn Syrians and more than 320,000 people from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran — say they have received limited or no assistance from the EU.

Several newcomers in Van, a city near the Turkish-Iranian border hosting many who fled Afghanistan after the 2021 Taliban takeover, told the FT they relied mostly on the Turkish government for support.

Sitting in a café, Mustafa recalled how his family of eight had to “sell everything” and make a perilous trip to Turkey to flee abuse and torture by the Taliban.

Mustafa’s family now lives in a “very, very old house” in Van, which they can barely afford on aid from the Turkish state and his salary, below minimum wage. His family has not received any assistance through EU programmes.

Rıdvan Canış, a social worker, said they operated on a “tight budget”, particularly after last year’s devastating earthquake in southern Turkey created a huge need for additional aid.

Canış, whose organisation offers refugees legal advice and counselling, said many had limited access to EU benefits, and struggle to meet basic needs. “We have families who do not have shoes on their feet,” Canış said.

Chart du jour: Back on track

Line chart of Purchasing managers’ index showing Eurozone business activity picks up as services sector recovers

Business activity in the eurozone has risen to the highest in almost a year, indicating the economy is on track for a “soft landing”.


Finland wants the EU to push for a global clampdown on Russian timber. But it also wants the European Commission to delay deforestation rules to cut down more of its own trees, writes Alice Hancock.

Context: The EU has blocked imports of Russian wood products, but circumvention of those sanctions are rife and several European allies have not yet sanctioned Russian timber. Before Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia was the second biggest supplier of wood to the EU after China, with 2021 imports valued at $4.6mn.

Sari Essayah, Finnish minister for agriculture and forestry, said “I don’t understand” why other G7 countries had not blocked imports of sawn timber from Russia’s mostly state-owned forests. “This is something we really should move on.”

Essayah also said that Brussels must delay its landmark deforestation law, which will ban products including beef, wood and rubber from being sold within the bloc if they are linked to deforested land.

While the law has had a lot of flak from countries outside the EU, Finland warns that it can also impact producers inside the bloc.

“The deforestation regulation causes a headache to many countries,” she said, adding that Finnish farmers were fearful of falling foul of the rules. “The situation is unbearable.”

Other member states are waking up to the implication of the law they passed, too. In March, a majority of EU agricultural ministers called for the regulation to be suspended, but so far without consequence.

A group of NGOs, industry bodies and member states will gather in Brussels today to debate its implementation.

But a senior EU official said that so far, the commission was “holding firm” on its timeline.

What to watch today

  1. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz hosts British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in Berlin.

  2. European parliament celebrates the 20th anniversary of the 2004 EU enlargement.

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