EC Proposes EUR 700 M Emergency Aid Fund to Cope with Migrant Influx inside EUEU | March 2, 2016, Wednesday // 16:09| views
European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides. Photo credit: EU
The European Commission has proposed a new emergency assistance instrument worth an estimated EUR 700 M over three years to provide a faster, more targeted response to major crises inside the EU such as a sudden influx of refugees.
The proposed new instrument will be used within the European Union to help member states cope with large numbers of refugees, the EU executive body said in a statement on Wednesday.
The proposal comes as the number of refugees and migrants arriving in Greece picked up in recent days while other countries lying on the so-called Balkans route to western Europe capped the number of people they allow to pass via their territory. As a result thousands of migrants and refugees remain stuck inside Greece, including at the country’s border with Macedonia, unable to reach western Europe where they plan to seek asylum. The number of people trying to move farther north from Greece has been growing by the day, and clashes took place last week between Macedonian police and migrants who stormed a wire fence at the border.
“Member States whose own response capacities are overwhelmed by urgent and exceptional circumstances, such as the sudden influx of refugees or other major disruptions could benefit from this new instrument,” the Commission said.
Emergency assistance would include the provision of basic necessities such as food, shelter and medicines to the large numbers of children, women and men currently arriving in EU countries.
The Commission will urgently propose to the European Parliament and to the European Council to amend the Union’s 2016 budget in view of the new proposal. An estimated EUR 700 M will be needed to support the new assistance instrument – EUR 300 M for 2016 and EUR 200 M for each of the next two years, the Commission said.
European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides commented, according to the statement: "Right now, there's no doubt that this will be particularly needed to support refugees. No time can be lost in deploying all means possible to prevent humanitarian suffering within our own borders."
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