The European Commission approved on Monday a 2.4-billion-euro program for 19 European Union countries that aims to provide solutions to the migration crisis.
Greece will receive a total of 473 million euros from two distinct funds.
259,348,877 euros of Greece’s funds will come from the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) that deals with migrant and refugee reception conditions.
“The AMIF funding supports national efforts to improve reception capacity, ensure that asylum procedures are in line with EU standards, integrate migrants at local and regional levels and increase the effectiveness of return programs,” the European Commission announcement read.
The remaining 214,844,038 euros will come from the Internal Security Fund (ISF) and will go toward various security fronts.
“Funding from ISF complements national efforts to improve member-states’ border management and surveillance (in particular through the use of modern technologies). ISF funding is also used for cross-border law enforcement cooperation and strengthens member-states’ capacity to effectively manage security-related risks such as terrorism and violent radicalization, drug trafficking, cybercrime, human trafficking and other forms of organized crime,” the announcement stated.
These funds will be allocated over time until 2020. 85% of funds will be handled directly by the member-states that receive them. The other 15% will managed by the European Commission “based on individual programs.”
With the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) claiming that 224,000 refugees and migrants have entered Europe through the Mediterranean Sea in 2015, the number of arrivals in Greece has increased at an alarming rate and has reached unprecedented levels. While around 43,500 migrants entered Greece in 2014, the Greek Coast Guard announced that more than 54,000 immigrants and refugees had entered Greece just in July 2015. The UNHCR further said a few days ago that some 124,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Greece in 2015.
The primary entry points are Greek islands located close to Turkey. UNHCR director for Europe Vincent Cochetel said on Friday that the conditions he witnessed on the Greek islands of Kos, Lesvos and Chios were the worst he encountered in his 30-year career.
Italy was the highest recipient of the European Commission funds, securing a total of 560 million euros, while Spain got almost 522 million euros from the two funds combined.