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EU Proposes Emergency Fund to Help Member States With Migrants

  • VOA News

Migrants queue to receive travel papers near the Greek-Macedonian border, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, March 2, 2016. The European Union has proposed an emergency fund of $760 million to help Greece and other member states that are struggling with the migrant crisis.

Migrants queue to receive travel papers near the Greek-Macedonian border, near the village of Idomeni, Greece, March 2, 2016. The European Union has proposed an emergency fund of $760 million to help Greece and other member states that are struggling with the migrant crisis.

The European Union has proposed an emergency fund of $760 million to help Greece and other member states that are struggling with the migrant crisis.

The European commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, Christos Stylianides, said Wednesday that $325 million would be provided immediately and the rest for the next two years.

"Through this new instrument, the commission will provide 700 million euros over the next three years," he said. "For this year, we will actually propose to European Parliament and to the Council a dedicated budget, an initial amount of 300 million euros will be needed to be supplemented by 200 million euros for the next year and 200 million euros for the year after. This

Funds in addition to current programs

Stylianides said that the aid package would be in addition to funds already being spent on “hot spots” and other programs to help countries deal with the crisis and migrant needs.

Migrants rest under a tree at the Victoria Square in Athens, Greece, March 1, 2016.

Migrants rest under a tree at the Victoria Square in Athens, Greece, March 1, 2016.

"This fund will provide emergency assistance to refugees in Greece," he added. "This fund is complimentary, it is in addition to already existing funding for hot spots, reallocation, social inclusion, cohesion, reconstruction as well as other types of funding provided by the EU."

The proposal needs the approval of the European Parliament and member states.

The EU also wants migrant flow from Turkey to drop below 1,000 a day.

European Council President Donald Tusk said before departing for Ankara Wednesday that he will press for “a more intensive engagement” with Turkey to implement the deal signed with the EU in November to curb the stream of refugees.

Tusk is touring the Balkan states and Turkey, the main departure point for refugees.

Meanwhile, Turkey has offered to sign readmission agreements with 14 countries, which would enable Ankara to quickly take back migrants rejected by the EU, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

A crucial EU-Turkey summit to address the migrant crisis is scheduled for March 7.

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