EC spox: There was no discussion for additional funding for Eastern Aegean islands

There was no discussion for providing additional funding to the Greek islands of the Eastern Aegean during last week’s visit of the five island mayors to the European Commission, spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said on Tuesday during a regular press briefing in Brussels.

Bertaud was responding to a question concerning press reports in Greece which claimed the islands affected by the refugee crisis had secured financial assistance totaling 50 million euros to boost growth.

“As you know, the five mayors of the Aegean islands – Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Leros and Kos – were in Brussels last week on 7 March and, as you say, they had several meetings here in the Commission. There was, however, no discussion regarding additional funding possibilities specifically for the islands,” the spokeswoman said, adding that what was discussed was the possibility of organising a visit of European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu to the islands to look at what is possible under the European Social Fund.

Bertaud also noted the Commission has already made available one billion euros in financial support for Greece to manage the migration situation through the Home Affairs funding and the Emergency funding strands, as well as through the Emergency Support Instrument.

“And as you know, a lot of this money is channeled to the central Greek authorities or to our international partners and NGOs working on the ground,” she added.