EU to give Greece emergency funding for refugee crisis

European Commission officials announced new emergency funding for Greece on Thursday to help the country deal with the refugee crisis.

The country will receive €209 million ($243 million) in order to relocate refugee families from camps to apartments and provide them with prepaid cards, Christos Stylianides, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, told reporters.

“Our new funding is a game changer on how we deliver aid to improve people’s lives,” he said.

“The aim of these new projects is to get refugees out of the camps and into everyday accommodation and help them have more secure and normal lives,” Stylianides added.

Greece has already received around €1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) to help management of the crisis, said Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration.

"The projects launched today are one part of our wider support to the country but also to those in need of our protection," he added during a joint news conference with other EU officials in Athens.

The new funding “more than doubles” the emergency support provided to Greece since the refugee crisis started in 2015, “bringing it to a total of €401 million ($469.5 million),” Avramopoulos said.

In collaboration with the UNHCR, the European Commission’s project will provide 22,000 homes on the Greek mainland and 2,000 on the islands. The goal is to increase the number of refugees and asylum seekers living in apartments to 30,000 by the end of the year, the EU officials said.

“The main target is to close all the camps and manage to integrate the refugees and asylum seekers into society,” Greek Migration Minister Giannis Mouzalas added.

According to official government numbers, more than 60,000 refugees and migrants are currently stranded in Greece, since European borders closed in March last year.

Source: aa

Nick Kalikajaros 2017