Refugee crisis: European Council shows solidarity with Greece by approving emergency support

The European Council agreed on an emergency support mechanism in response to the difficult humanitarian situation caused by the refugee crisis notably in Greece. This enables the EU to help Greece and other affected member states to address the humanitarian needs of the large numbers of arrivals of men, women and children. The EU’s humanitarian assistance is aimed at meeting the basic needs of refugees by providing food, shelter, water, medicine and other necessities.

“This is a very rapid and practical expression of the EU’s solidarity with Greece which implements a commitment of the European Council. The Netherlands Presidency will continue to do its utmost to ensure that the General Affairs Council of 15 March adopts the regulation”, said Bert Koenders, the Foreign Minister of the Netherlands and President of the Council.

The Council, together with the European Parliament, also needs to adopt a draft amending budget to mobilise the necessary resources from the 2016 EU budget. The Commission proposed a draft amending budget on  March 9th, 2016.

The Commission estimates that a total of €700 million will be needed in 2016-2018 to address the needs of refugees, of which €300 million will be required in 2016.

The emergency support mechanism is not limited to providing member states assistance in the refugee crisis. It can also be mobilised in response to exceptional crises or disasters with severe humanitarian consequences, such as nuclear accidents, terrorist attacks and epidemics.

The General Affairs Council of 15 March 2016 will be invited to adopt the regulation. The Council and the Parliament then need to adopt a draft amending budget to be proposed by the Commission in order to mobilise the necessary resources in 2016.

PHOTO: © UNHCR/I. Prickett