Mayors announce 50 million euros in EU refugee aid


The mayors of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos – the five eastern Aegean islands worst hit by the refugee crisis – secured a European Union pledge of 50 million euros in emergency assistance during their recent trip to Brussels, they told reporters in Athens on Thursday. 

The officials held a press conference on their return from the Belgian capital, where they met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker, commissioners for migration Dimitiris Avramopoulos and humanitarian aid Christos Stylianides, chief spokesman Margaritis Schinas and other high-ranking officials.

They said that the 50 million euros will be distributed equally between the five islands to help them implement measures combating the effects of overcrowded camps and new arrivals.

The mayors added that they are also expecting a visit from Regional Policy Commissioner Corina Cretu, while Avramopoulos is also expected to return to Lesvos – where the problems at the Moria camp are particularly acute – on March 16 with Greece’s migration minister, Yiannis Mouzalas, who is also in Brussels.

In a related development, the Migration Ministry responded to reports criticizing a nearly 40 percent pay rise granted to the director of its Reception and Identification Service.

In a statement following a report in Eleftheros Typos saying that the service’s director was granted a hike in her monthly salary from 2,604 to 3,950 euros on February 23, the ministry said the increase was a correction of a previous error.