A woman offers grapes to a group of refugees who have camped at Victoria Square in downtown Athens.
Greece is to make an immediate request for more funding from the European Commission to tackle the refugee crisis on the eastern Aegean islands but this will only represent a fraction of the 1 billion euros that the caretaker government believes it needs to address the situation.
Kathimerini understands that the Greek police will on Friday request 6 million euros in emergency funding from Brussels to cover the cost of new equipment and sending more personnel to islands such as Lesvos, Kos, Samos and Chios, where around 2,000 refugees a day are landing in dinghies that set sail from Turkey.
Police chiefs want to send a significant number of officers to these islands to help register refugees and migrants who arrive there. However, they also need more equipment, including fingerprint scanners.
The Commission approved an emergency transfer of 2.8 million euros to the Greek coast guard earlier this summer.
However, the extra funds will fall well short of the total that Athens believes it needs to deal with the refugee crisis. Speaking at a news conference with several other cabinet members, Economy Minister Nikos Christodoulakis said that Greece needs around 1 billion euros but cannot be sure that it will receive this amount.
“The minimum sum Greece needs is 400 million euros from the [EU] asylum fund and 330 million from the fund for the poor to tackle urgent infrastructure needs,” he said.
His comments came as European Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans and European Commissioner for Migration Dimitris Avramopoulos arrived in Athens.
“We are here today to discuss with the Greek government the best way that we can quickly implement the decisions that are necessary for us to be able to assist financially and with people and material so that the situation becomes better,” said Timmermans after talks with caretaker Prime Minister Vassiliki Thanou.
The EU officials are due to visit the eastern Aegean islands on Friday.