Greece and Spain have been granted an additional 45.6 million euros in emergency aid in order to address the incoming refugee flows, the European Commission announced on Monday.
The Commission said Greece would be receiving an extra 20 million euros through the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to improve reception conditions particularly on the island of Lesvos, support local community projects and provide further emergency accommodation on other islands.
The emergency funding is also set to go towards stepping up measures for the protection of children, non-formal education and to prevent sexual and gender-based violence.
Spain will get 25.6 million euros to improve the reception capacity in view of increasing arrivals along its southern coast, and in Ceuta and Melilla, and to help boost returns.
“The Commission continues to deliver on its commitment to support member states under pressure. Spain has seen arrival figures increase during the past year and we need to step up our support to help manage the numbers and return those who have no right to stay,” said Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.
Avramopoulos went on to add that “while the EU-Turkey Statement has greatly contributed to lowering the number of arrivals in Greece, the country is still facing significant migratory pressure, in particular on the islands”.
Greece has thus far received more than 1.6 billion euros in support since 2015, when the refugee crisis broke out, with Lesvos bearing the brunt of refugee arrivals via sea. As a result, tourism to the island has plummeted.
The July 2 decision comes on top of over 1 billion euros in emergency assistance to help manage migration under the current financial framework (2014-2020) with funding extended to Greece, Italy, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Sweden and now Spain.
In Spain, 24.8 million euros will go to employment and social security ministry and the Spanish Red Cross for healthcare, food, and shelter with an additional 720,000 euros awarded to the country’s interior ministry to help improve the quality of return facilities and infrastructure for return transfers.
Spain has thus far received a total of 692 million euros for migration, border and security management in the 2014-2020 period.