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    Brussels Providing Additional €305Mln to EU Refugee Recipient Countries

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    Financial resources will be provided to Greece, Italy, Cyprus and Croatia under the European Commission's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF), aimed at "supporting Member States under migratory pressure".

    On 20 December the European Commission (EC) announced that it had "made available an additional €305 million in emergency assistance to support migration and border management in Greece, Italy, Cyprus, and Croatia", according to an official EC press release.

    "The additional €305 million awarded this week to several countries will address urgent needs by ensuring that new arrivals are accommodated adequately and have access to food and water, that the safety and security of the most vulnerable is guaranteed, and that border controls are strengthened where needed", referencing a statement by Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship.    

    The emergency assistance is to "increase reception capacity, protect victims of human trafficking and strengthen border surveillance and management capacity",  the European Commission's press release reads.

    The greater part of the additional funding, precisely €289 million, will be allocated to Greece, targeting such issues as "rental accommodation and allowances", improving "reception conditions", conducting "search and rescue" operations and preparing the "reception facilities" for winter by providing "blankets, winter jackets and winterisation kits".

    Italy will receive €5.3 million to "protect victims of human trafficking." Cyprus will get €3.1 million in order to "step up its reception capacity". Croatia was awarded €6.8 million to "reinforce border management at the EU's external borders" and to "strengthen border surveillance and law enforcement capacity".

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    In June 2018 the European Commission proposed tripling funding for migration and border management to €34.9 billion. Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, while announcing the suggestion, noted that "better managing our external borders and migration will remain key priorities for the EU, the Member States and our citizens in the years to come".

    In 2015-2016 the EU experienced a huge influx of migrants and refugees. In 2015 more than one million migrants arrived in Europe, of which 250,000 people came by sea.  The main migrant entry-points into the EU were in the southern and eastern EU member states, such as Italy, Greece, Spain, etc.

    In an attempt to deal with the burden the migration caused, EU authorities established a quota system, according to which all EU states have to share responsibility for hosting migrants. While the bloc's western states, such as Germany, were willing to give shelter to refugees, eastern countries, such as Hungary and Poland strongly opposed the decision.

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    The migrant question has caused a division between EU member states, which has been reflected in a series of initiatives, aiming at countering refugee-related problems. One of the latest initiatives was related to elaborating "alternative measures of solidarity", which was proposed by Germany.

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