European Commission awards additional 305M euro to four EU countries facing migration pressure

The European Commission said on December 20 that this week it had made available an additional 305 million euro in emergency assistance to support migration and border management in Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Croatia.

The funding will support efforts to increase reception capacity, protect victims of human trafficking and strengthen border surveillance and management capacity, the Commission said.

European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said: “The Commission is committed to continue supporting member states under migratory pressure.

“The additional 305 million euro awarded this week to several countries will address urgent needs by ensuring that new arrivals are accommodated adequately and have access to food and water, that the safety and security of the most vulnerable is guaranteed, and that border controls are strengthened where needed.”

The emergency funding will be provided under the European Commission’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF), and is part of the 10.8 billion euro for migration, border management and internal security already mobilised by the Commission for the period 2014-20.

The Commission is making 289 million euro available to support migration management in Greece.

Funding will be allocated to:

  • Rental accommodation and allowances: 190 million euro will go to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to ensure the UNHCR-run Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation (ESTIA) programme can be continued.

    ESTIA provides rental accommodation for up to 25 000 asylum seekers and refugees as well as monthly cash allowances for up to 70 000 people. UNHCR will also receive a further five million euro to further step up the reception capacity in the new open reception facilities on the Greek mainland, through the provision and distribution of 400 pre-fabricated containers.

  • Reception conditions: 61 million euro will go to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to allow for the continuation of on-site support programmes in reception facilities in the mainland. This includes access to healthcare and non-formal education, dedicated safe zones for unaccompanied minors as well as training for operational staff.

  • Search and rescue: The Hellenic Coast Guard has been awarded 33 million euro to support the running costs of maritime awareness activities in the Aegean and help ensure safe disembarkation and efficient processing following search and rescue operations.

  • Winterisation: To support preparedness efforts, the IOM will receive an additional 357 000 euro to provide blankets, winter jackets and winterisation kits for reception facilities in the Greek islands and in the Evros region.

The Commission said that it has now made more than two billion euro of funding available to Greece for migration management, of which nearly 1.5 billion euro is emergency financial support.

The Commission is awarding 5.3 million euro in emergency funding to the Italian authorities to help protect victims of human trafficking in the context of migration. Through a pilot project in accommodation facilities for asylum seekers in the Piemonte region, the funding will be used to help identify victims of human trafficking, and encourage them to make use of available support.

Since the beginning of the migration crisis, the Commission has made almost 950 million euro available to support migration and border management in Italy.

This funding includes more than 225 million euro in emergency support and 724 million euro already allocated to Italy under its national programmes of the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund 2014-2020.

The Commission is awarding 3.1 million euro to Cyprus to step up its reception capacity and transform the temporary emergency centre “Pournaras” into a fully-fledged first reception centre.

The funding will ensure that the centre can function as a “one-stop shop”, operating on a 24/7 basis. Services provided will include medical examination, registration, fingerprinting, screening, information provision, and the possibility to submit an asylum application, the Commission said.

The emergency assistance is part of the Commission’s efforts to reinforce migration management support for Cyprus after the country has seen arrival figures increase significantly in the course of 2018.

The new funding comes on top of almost 40 million euro allocated to migration management for the period 2014-2020, and nearly a million euro in emergency funding for migration awarded in 2014.

The European Asylum Support office is currently deploying 29 caseworkers to support Cyprus in clearing the backlog of asylum applications due to increased arrivals in recent years.

The Commission is awarding 6.8 million euro to Croatia to help reinforce border management at the EU’s external borders, in full respect of EU rules.

The funding will help strengthen border surveillance and law enforcement capacity by covering the operational costs of 10 border police stations through the provision of the daily allowances, over-time compensation and equipment.

A monitoring mechanism will be put in place to ensure that all measures applied at the EU external borders are proportionate and are in full compliance with fundamental rights and EU asylum laws.

Today’s award brings the overall emergency funding for migration and border management allocated to Croatia by the Commission to almost 23.2 million euro.

This comes on top of nearly 108 million euro allocated to Croatia under the national programmes of the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund 2014-2020.

(Photo: Italian coast guard/Massimo Sestini)



The Sofia Globe staff

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