Greece will establish 8000 new reception facilities for migrants and refugees on its mainland thanks to a €12,7m grant from the European Commission, according to a press release from the Commission.
“The award of €12,7 million to set up new reception facilities is another sign of the EU’s solidarity and strong support to Greece in its efforts to manage the unprecedented migratory flows into the country,” Commissioner of Migration, Home Affairs & Citizenship, Dimitris Avrampoulos, said. “It will help Greece to reach the objective of increasing its reception capacity to 50,000 places, as agreed at the Western Balkans Leaders’ Meeting of 25 October 2015.”
The money will be drawn from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), which was formed to assist the member states between 2014 and 2020 and houses €3.137 billion to be spent over those seven years. Among AMIF’s purposes are fortifying the Common European Asylum System by enforcing related EU legislation, supporting legal migration to member states according to labour market needs and ensuring those states most heavily impacted by asylum-seekers and immigrants, like Greece, receive adequate support from the Union.
AMIF’s €12,7m grant will also finance the installation of portable, prefabricated homes to temporarily accommodate incoming migrants in the Attica and Central Macedonia regions. Greece’s National Programme for AMIF provides complementary funding, which covers costs associated with preparation and opening of each site.
In 2015, over 820,000 migrants arrived via boat or inflatable raft, with most entering through Greece, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Many were fleeing violent conflict in Syria and Iraq.
The Commission also provided Greece with €1,36m in emergency funding on January 13 for fingerprinting technology to be used on incoming migrants. The money went towards 90 fingerprinting devices which were used to ensure proper identification and registration of migrants at Greek border crossings. They were made to be connected to the central EURODAC system to ensure sharing of information, and will be installed at border crossing points throughout the country, including on the Eastern Aegean islands.
For 2016, the Commission has foreseen emergency financial assistance, available to all Member States, of €55.9 million under the ISF programme and €133 million under AMIF.