Italy to re­ceive most EU fund­ing for mi­grant cri­sis

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion has ap­proved EUR 2.4 bln of aid over six years for coun­tries in­clud­ing Greece and Italy that have strug­gled to cope with a surge in num­bers of im­mi­grants.

Italy is to re­ceive the most aid - nearly EUR 560 mln, while Greece will re­ceive 473 mln, ac­cord­ing to EurAc­tiv.com

“Mem­ber States nowa­days face un­prece­dented chal­lenges in the fields of mi­gra­tion and se­cu­rity and the Com­mis­sion is tak­ing ac­tion in a spirit of sol­i­dar­ity,” Mi­gra­tion, Home Af­fairs and Cit­i­zen­ship Com­mis­sioner Dim­itris Avramopou­los said, adding that bold steps must be taken to im­prove mi­gra­tion man­age­ment, foster co­op­er­a­tion and make Europe safer from or­gan­ised crime and ter­ror­ism for our cit­i­zens.

“The na­tional pro­grammes ap­proved by the Com­mis­sion pro­vide sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance to the Mem­ber States to ad­dress these chal­lenges. We are de­ter­mined to con­tinue to put sol­i­dar­ity into prac­tice,” he in­sisted.

The Com­mis­sion has worked in­ten­sively with mem­ber states to en­sure that EU funds are re­leased ur­gently. Some 22 na­tional pro­grammes were al­ready ap­proved in March, and an ad­di­tional 13 pro­grammes will be ap­proved later this year. Ten­sions have es­ca­lated this year as thou­sands of mi­grants from the Mid­dle East and Africa try to gain asy­lum in the Euro­pean Union.

On Sun­day, UK Bri­tish For­eign Sec­re­tary Philip Ham­mond said the bloc was un­able to take in mil­lions of peo­ple seek­ing a new life.

Ham­mond’s com­ments, some of his most out­spo­ken on the sub­ject yet, un­der­score how the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment is ramp­ing up its anti-immigration rhetoric in re­sponse to a spike in mi­grant at­tempts to reach Bri­tain via the Chan­nel Tun­nel from France.

Around 188,000 mi­grants have made the cross­ing from North Africa to Europe so far this year, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Or­gan­i­sa­tion for Mi­gra­tion (IOM), which puts the death toll in the Mediter­ranean at over 2,000 since Jan­uary 2015.

Faced with the scale of the cri­sis, na­tion­al­ist par­ties across Europe have be­come in­creas­ingly vo­cal in their op­po­si­tion to poli­cies of re­set­tle­ment and sol­i­dar­ity.

Immigration has over­taken un­em­ploy­ment and the fi­nan­cial cri­sis as the num­ber one con­cern for EU cit­i­zens in re­cent months, ac­cord­ing to a study by Euro­stat. Many Euro­pean gov­ern­ments have taken strong anti-immigration mea­sures in or­der to mol­lify their in­creas­ingly wor­ried vot­ers.

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