EU provides €83 million to improve conditions for refugees in Greece

Today the European Commission announces €83 million under the new Emergency Assistance Instrument, proposed by the Commission on 2 March, to improve living conditions for refugees in Greece, with funding made available immediately to the UNHCR, the International Federation of the Red Cross and six international NGOs. These partners will be working with Greek NGOs who have the necessary local knowledge.

EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, signed the first contracts in Athens today under the new instrument for emergency support within the EU, set up to help Member States cope with crises, such as large numbers of refugees.

“We have to restore dignified living conditions for refugees and migrants in Europe as swiftly as possible. With the first projects active on the ground we are showing a concrete example of how the EU delivers on the challenges Europe faces. The funding will go to humanitarian aid partners that are working hand-in-hand with the Greek government and local NGOs to ensure that aid is provided in a well-coordinated and structured way in as many places as possible.” said Christos Stylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management.

The Commissioner met with Greek Alternate Minister responsible for Migration Policy Mr Ioannis Mouzalas, and visited projects that will support refugees in Eleonas, alongside both the Minister and the Mayor of Athens, Mr Giorgos Kaminis.

Thanks to these new projects, the Commission will help provide tens of thousands of refugees and migrants in Greece with primary health care, food, better hygiene conditions, child friendly spaces and construct temporary housing.

The support announced today comes in addition to overall EU support provided in the context of the refugee crisis in Greece. Since 2015, Greece has already received €181 million in emergency funding from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and the Internal Security Fund to manage the refugee crisis, on top of €509 million already allocated under these funds for the Greek national programme 2014-2020.

Funding overview

EU humanitarian partner Funding amount Duration Type of action
UNHCR €25 million 9 months 50,000 refugees will benefit in 15 sites from (1) technical and material assistance (such as sleeping mats, blankets, clothing, hygiene kits, rain poncho, socks, kitchen sets, soaps, solar lamps), (2) water, sanitation and hygiene assistance in temporary accommodations, (3) protection assistance with emphasis on unaccompanied or separated children. Additional component: humanitarian coordination support to the humanitarian community in Greece.
International Federation of the Red Cross €15 million 10 months 44,000 refugees will benefit in 15 sites of (1) basic health care,( 2) food parcels and non-food items, such as sleeping mats, blankets, clothing, hygiene kits (including for women), , kitchen sets, soaps, (3) water, sanitation and hygiene assistance, (4) Psycho-social support, (5) assistance to re-establish family links thanks to the world-wide Red Cross network.
Danish Refugee Council €8 million 9 months 7500 beneficiaries will benefit from a multi-sectoral approach which includes site management support, protection, water, sanitation and hygiene assistance, as well as shelter and the provision of core relief items to cover the needs in 5 sites.
International Rescue Committee €10 million 10 months Multi-sectoral assistance including protection, psychosocial support, safe spaces for women, safe learning and healing spaces for children, water, sanitation and hygiene, and food assistance for 16.000 beneficiaries
Save the Children €7 million 12 months The delivery of child protection activities to vulnerable, at-risk children and their families stranded in mainland Greece. Activities include the provision of child friendly spaces, non-formal education classes, psycho-social support and nutrition. Unaccompanied minors and separated children will also receive targeted interventions, in partnership with the Greek national authorities.
OXFAM €6 million 12 months Assistance for water, sanitation and hygiene, food, protection & improvement of shelter (winterisation) and other essential items. Improvement of shower and toilet facilities for 3000 people and   increased access to services, better consideration of protection site design / management for 2750 people. Activities are both focused in the West, an area where there are few partners active.   Food for 3000 people, mainly via vouchers is focused in the North. Essential items for 3000 people will include 600 shelter winterisation kits.
Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund €5 million 12 months Provide shelter and basic services, including health and psycho social support, non- food items, child friendly spaces, legal support and interpretation for 1.500 beneficiaries in Thessaloniki.
Médecins Du Monde €7 million 12 months Primary health care, referrals for specialised medical care, psychosocial support for migrants and refugees.

The project aims at reducing health risks and to provide health care (including specialised health) to 18.000 refugees and migrants stranded in Greece, through fixed and mobile medical units. It respects national curricula and referral mechanisms.


On 2 March the Commission proposed a faster, more targeted way to respond to major crises, including helping Member States cope with large numbers of refugees in the form of an Emergency Support Instrument.

Following the adoption of a Regulation (EU/2016/369) on 15 March by the Council, the European Parliament authorised the budget required for the first round of EU funding on 13 April. It is estimated that €300 million are needed in 2016 to complement existing efforts through other areas of support. The remaining funding is expected to become available later in the year.

Emergency support funding complements other EU funding instruments, such as the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) the Internal Security Fund (ISF), the European Fund for the Most Deprived (FEAD) and the EU Health Programme which have already been providing significant financial resources for assistance in Greece. It is also complementary to the assistance being provided through the EU’s Civil Protection Mechanism, which relies on voluntary offers from participating states.