EU approves refugee support mechanism for Greece

EU approves refugee support mechanism for Greece

The presidency of the European Council on Tuesday announced that it has approved a new support mechanism for Greece and other European countries struggling with the bloc's biggest immigration crisis since World War II.

“This Council decision shows that the EU stands by Greece at this difficult time. The Netherlands presidency will do all it can to ensure that the necessary EU funds are mobilized as quickly as possible,” said Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, whose country holds the six-month rotating presidency of the EU.

The European Commission estimates that the refugee effort will require 300 million euros this year and an additional 200 million euros each in 2017 and 2018.

The help that will be provided under the new mechanism includes food, shelter, water, medicine and other basic necessities. It will be delivered by the Commission itself or by partner organizations selected in cooperation with Greek authorities.

Tuesday’s statement put the number of migrants and refugees currently trapped in Greece due to border closures at 35,000. Government sources estimate that number to be closer to 44,000.

The Bank of Greece, meanwhile, on Monday said the cost of the handling the refugee crisis for Greece alone will likely exceed a previous estimate of 600 million euros.

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