European Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos visits Idomeni today

Dimitris Avramopoulos, European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship is visiting Idomeni today, accompanied by Commission experts who are supporting the Greek authorities on the ground. Commissioner Avramopoulos will tour the camp to get a first-hand understanding of the situation, and will meet with migrants staying there as well as representatives from UNHCR, IOM, Médecins Sans Frontières, EASO and Frontex. The number of migrants in Greece is currently estimated at around 45,000 people, with 12,000 of them in Idomeni. The Commission’s primary concern is to prevent the ongoing humanitarian situation on the ground from worsening. We are using all available resources to support Greece and address the emergency needs, including reinforcement of reception capacities, improvement of border management and increased relocation and return operations.

Commissioner Avramopoulos said: “We are here today to reaffirm our solidarity and support to Greece in addressing the humanitarian needs of the large number of migrants in the country. Most importantly, we are here to acknowledge that the crisis is above all affecting those men, women and children who I met today. The generosity of the Greek people is an example for us all. The efforts by the Greek authorities, EU Agencies, international organisations and NGOs to provide relief must be commended. We all share the same goal: to address effectively the increasing needs of migrants hosted in Greece and to alleviate their suffering. We can only resolve this through a common, coherent approach using all the financial, material and political resources we have at our disposal. Right now, the priority is to make relocation part of our humanitarian response, to address the immediate needs of the people in reception centres and to move people away from Idomeni to safer locations in Greece or other Member States”.

The Commission will deploy all available budgetary means to provide support on the ground, firstly under the existing instruments of the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF) and secondly under the new proposal for emergency assistance within the EU which the Commission adopted on 2 March. For the period 2014-2020, Greece will receive €509 million under Greece’s National programme for the AMIF and ISF funds. The Commission has already provided €148 million in emergency funding to Greece in 2015 and 2016, including €80 million to help build reception capacity to house migrants and refugees in Greece via the UNHCR and €21 million via the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) to support relocation.