Greece edges closer to EU mi­gra­tion funds

Kathimerini English - - Front Page -

Greece took a much-de­layed step yesterday for the re­lease of Euro­pean Union funds de­signed to help the coun­try deal with a record num­ber of mi­grant and refugee ar­rivals.

The Gov­ern­ment Gazette yesterday pub­lished a de­ci­sion – signed by for­mer fi­nance min­is­ter Eu­clid Tsakalo­tos and al­ter­nate min­is­ter for immigration pol­icy Ta­sia Christodoulopoulou – es­tab­lish­ing an agency to man­age EU asy­lum, re­cep­tion and in­te­gra­tion pro­grams.

Launch­ing the agency has been a con­di­tion for the re­lease of 470 mil­lion eu­ros over a five-year pe­riod un­til 2020. The bureau, which will be head­quar­tered on Vou­liag­me­nis Av­enue, south of cen­tral Athens, is ex­pected to be fully op­er­a­tional by Septem­ber 15.

Mean­while, the grow­ing num­ber of im­mi­grants and refugees gath­er­ing around Vic­to­ria Square in the city cen­ter fol­low­ing their ar­rival in the Greek cap­i­tal, is gen­er­at­ing com­plaints from lo­cals and busi­ness own­ers.

“They are just sun­bathing,” Ge­or­gia, a 62year-old res­i­dent, told Kathimerini tak­ing a jab at Christodoulopoulou’s in­fa­mous re­mark. “It’s been like that for months. In­stead of im­prov­ing, the sit­u­a­tion is get­ting worse by the day,” she said of the crowd who ap­peared to have been drawn by the large num­ber of benches, shade and free wi-fi.

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