Today, the European Commission has stepped up its funding to improve living conditions for refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in Greece. New funding worth €115 million will be released to humanitarian organisations operating in the country.
"The European Commission continues to put solidarity into action to better manage the refugee crisis, in close cooperation with the Greek Government. The new funding has the key aim to improve conditions for refugees in Greece, and make a difference ahead of the upcoming winter. Over the past months, we have significantly contributed to restore dignified living conditions through our humanitarian partners. Together, we will continue our work until our job is done", said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides, who announced the new funding at the Thessaloniki International Fair in Greece today, together with the Greek Alternate Minister for Migration, Ioannis Mouzalas.
The additional funding is already in the process of being contracted. As agreed between Commissioner Stylianides and Minister Mouzalas, it will focus on four priorities:
- Improvement of existing shelters and construction of new ones, and improvement of sanitation conditions.
- Delivery of direct assistance to refugees through cash/voucher schemes.
- Access to education for refugee children.
- Help to unaccompanied minors who need special care and protection.
The new emergency support comes on top of the €83 million which the European Commission has already provided earlier this year to international organisations and NGOs to address the most pressing humanitarian needs in Greece, including shelter, primary health care, psycho-social support, improved hygiene conditions as well as informal education and safe spaces for children and women.
Overall, the European Union is providing over €1 billion in support to Greece in tackling current migration challenges.
In urgent and exceptional circumstances such as the increased influx of refugees in Europe, the European Commission can fund humanitarian aid for people in need within the EU territory through the Emergency Support Instrument. Until 2018, up to €700 million of EU-funding will be made available via partner organisations, such as UN agencies, the Red Cross and non-governmental organisations.
The Commission's humanitarian support complements other EU funding instruments which have already been providing significant financial resources for assistance in Greece such as the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) the Internal Security Fund (ISF), the European Fund for the Most Deprived (FEAD) and the EU Health Programme. It is also complementary to the voluntary offers for material assistance by states participating in the EU Civil Protection Mechanism.