Unprecedented! The European Union approved a 700-million euro Humanitarian Adi packed mainly for Greece, but the money will not be given to the State to deal with. It will go International Agencies like the UN and to Non-Governmental-Organizations, while “part of the amount will be given directly to refugees in form of coupons,” as I heard on some Greek broadcasts. It is the first time , the European Commission releases an Emergency Aid package for an EU member state but allocates it here and there.
The European Commission estimates the needs as “for 2016 are €300 million with a further €200 million each for use in 2017 and 2018, respectively.” However, these estimations apparently do not take into consideration the EU plans to turn Greece into a huge camp for asylum seekers.
Details about how and when these amount will be distributed remain vague.
EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides tweeted about the program:
“EUR 700 ml for 3 yrs to cover basic necessities-food, shelter, clean water & emergency health care in overwhelmed Member States.”
“We will work in close cooperation with Member States & humanitarian actors and partners on the ground to cover emergency needs.”
Not details were given also in the press release issued by the European Commission.
“Emergency assistance would be provided in close coordination with Member States and organisations such as UN agencies, non-governmental organisations and international organisations, and include the provision of basic necessities such as food, shelter and medicine to the large numbers of children, women and men currently arriving in EU countries.”
So far no further details have been disclosed – but you know how the EU and the EC normally function: under secrecy and lack of transparency.
Being proud of the fast track to approve the Emergency Aid, the press release notes:
“The Commission will urgently propose, to the European Parliament and to the Council as the budgetary authorities, an amending budget for 2016 to create the budget line for the instrument.”
Which means very clearly, that it will take some time until the money reaches the refugees via the NGOs and whoever else will be involved.
I have no idea what is the Greek government approach to this. But it could be a welcomed opportunity as it has tried to put NGOs operating on the islands under control. I suppose, they will have to be officially registered then to get their hands on the EC pot.
Don’t get me wrong. There are many great NGOs and many great people doing great work for the refugees and the migrants. But there are also those that… well… they do not seem to work with proper means, while there have been rumors that some might be connected with smugglers.
PS I hope, the EC has provision that not only registered refugees get the coupons and the rest remains hungry, dirty and unshaven. Because, normally only registered people get access to institutions’ ‘benefits’.
This will take ages to sort out. The Greek government is well out of it.
Except that the government has a legal duty to the refugees that NGOs and others do not. And the EU will not finance it?
No, or do you think Greece will watch people starve to death?
The government will now prepare for that supermarkets, restaurants, hostels aso accept the coupons – if necessary create a law – and secure guarantees that the coupons are no worthless “Reichskassenschein” aka the government must bring small businessmen to trust in EU, so after 6 fantastic years we’ll watch a miracle and it’s not Easter yet.
And exactly how are the small businesses, where these coupons would typically be spent, redeem them?
Will the EU make them counterfeit proof? Will tens of thousands of coupons be kept on hand at the “hot spots”? How will they be secured and accounted for?
Or is this, as we would joke in the military, another case of “the uninformed, leading the unwilling, to do the unproven, to accomplish the unimaginable”?