ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The European Commission announced a new emergency support package for Greece Thursday to help it deal with the refugee crisis that has seen tens of thousands of migrants and refugees stuck in the country.
The €209 million-euro ($243 million) package includes a 151 million-euro program to help refugee families rent accommodation in Greek cities and provide them with money in an effort to help them move out of refugee camps, EU officials said during a visit to Athens.
The Commission said the new funding more than doubles the emergency support extended to Greece for the refugee crisis, bringing it to a total of 401 million euros. The rental project is in cooperation with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and will provide 22,000 rental places with the aim of increasing the number of refugees living in rented apartments to 30,000 by the end of the year, including 2,000 places on Greek islands.
A parallel scheme worth 57.6 million euros will provide refugees and asylum seekers with monthly cash stipends distributed through cash-cards for expenses such as transport, food and medication.
"The projects launched today are one part of our wider support to the country but also to those in need of our protection," said Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos. "Around 1.3 billion euros of EU funds are at the disposal of Greece for the management of the migration crisis."