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EU commission proposes extra 1.7 bln Euros for refugee crisis

The funds will be used ‘inside the European Union to improve emergency reception facilities’

Published: Updated:

The EU’s executive Commission on Wednesday earmarked an additional 1.7 billion euros ($1.9 billion) to help the bloc tackle the continent's biggest refugee crisis since World War II.

“We have taken a decision to propose an additional 1.7 billion euros,” EU budget commissioner Kristalina Georgieva told a press conference ahead of an emergency EU summit.

The funds will be used “inside the European Union to improve emergency reception facilities and the capacity of the most overburdened countries to cope,” Georgieva said.

They will also be used to help “refugees outside the European Union, primarily via the World Food Program, the UNHCR and the ICRC (Red Cross) but also other humanitarian organizations, especially those who put their people at risk operating inside Syria and Iraq,” she said.

“We very much hope that member states would match the deployment (of funds) from the Commission,” she added.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told the press conference that one reason refugees headed to Europe was because funding had been cut in camps in the Middle East which house mainly people fleeing Syria.

In Brussels on Tuesday, interior ministers approved plans to relocate 120,000 asylum seekers from overstretched frontline states such as Greece and Italy.

Wednesday’s leaders’ summit will focus on the next steps, mainly strengthening the bloc’s external borders and providing extra funds for Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and U.N. agencies.

Around half a million migrants have flooded into Europe this year, overwhelming frontline states such as Greece, Italy and Hungary and straining the bloc’s current asylum system to the limit.