EU mi­gra­tion aid ap­proved but out of reach

Brus­sels al­lo­cates 474 mln eu­ros for Greece as Elaionas pro­ject de­layed

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion yesterday ap­proved the re­lease of 474 mil­lion eu­ros for Greece to boost its ef­forts to deal with un­doc­u­mented immigration and asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tions, part of a pack­age to­tal­ing 2.4 bil­lion eu­ros to Euro­pean Union na­tions, but the funds can­not be dis­bursed as Greek author­i­ties have yet to set up a ser­vice for the man­age­ment of EU sub­si­dies for immigration.

Set­ting up the ser­vice is a pre­req­ui­site for Greece to con­tinue re­ceiv­ing fund­ing and leg­is­la­tion was passed through Par­lia­ment last month fore­see­ing its cre­ation. In com­ments to Kathimerini last week, how­ever, Al­ter­nate Min­is­ter for Immigration Pol­icy Ta­sia Christodoulopoulou noted that set­ting up the immigration ser­vice was no speedy mat­ter.

As the in­flux of im­mi­grants into Greece peaks, with hun­dreds reach­ing the Aegean is­lands daily, Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras noted last week that author­i­ties are do­ing all they can to ad­dress a “cri­sis within a cri­sis.”

Ac­com­mo­dat­ing the mi­grants who travel on to Athens is another big chal­lenge. A plan by author­i­ties to move hun­dreds of refugees from a makeshift camp in Pe­dion tou Areos park in the city cen­ter to a site in Elaionas, western Athens, was de­layed as the air-con­di­tion­ing units to be in­stalled in the pre­fab­ri­cated units on the Elaionas site were deemed faulty. The plot has been cleared and the units hooked up to elec­tric­ity and wa­ter sup­plies, but with­out air con­di­tion­ing, the me­tal huts would not be hab­it­able.

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