Schinas: Commission assisting Greek authorities with overcrowding in refugee camps

The European Commission supports Greek authorities in their efforts to overcome the problems that arise from the overcrowding of migrants on Greek soil, its spokesman Margaritis Schinas said on Monday.

“In total the EU has made available over one billion euros for migration and the border management. The actions are being implemented by humanitarian organizations including the UNHCR and NGOs. The Greek government is receiving direct economic assistance through other programs and financial tools,” he said.

Earlier, the European Commission said it had awarded an additional 3.9 million euros in emergency funding to Greece under the Internal Security Fund (ISF) to help improve reception conditions for migrants on the Greek islands.

“This is to further support EU financed actions carried out by the Ministry of Defence to provide catering, accommodation and transportation to the migrants on the islands, also in support of emergency accommodation solutions, such as temporary accommodation in ships,” the Commission said in a press release, adding that with this award, the overall amount of emergency assistance from the Home Affairs Funds made available for the country since 2015 amounts to 356.8 million euros.

Asked about the protests of migrants over their living conditions in Greece, Schinas said the close cooperation with Greek authorities is important for the organization and implementation of an effective response. “We are in regular contact with the Greek authorities regarding the situation, which is particularly difficult, since Greece is on the front line,” he added.