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European Commission - Fact Sheet

Questions and answers: €115 million new EU emergency support to refugees in Greece

Brussels, 10 September 2016

Which actions will be funded?

Ahead of the upcoming winter, the EU emergency support will mainly help repair existing shelters, construct new ones in the camp facilities, improve sanitation andprovide other assistance such as heating. Parts of the assistance will be delivered via cost-effective cash/voucher schemes. This will help refugees to cover the basic needs of their families in a dignified manner and at the same time support the local economy. EU funding will also support facilities for unaccompanied minors and help children to access education.

How will the emergency support be delivered to the refugees in need?

All of the announced emergency support will be channelled through UN agencies and international NGOs, working hand in hand with local NGOs and in close coordination with the Greek authorities.

The new emergency support comes on top of €83 million the European Commission has already provided earlier this year to international organisations and NGOs to address the most pressing humanitarian needs in Greece.

How will you ensure that aid is well spent?

All projects have been selected based on thorough needs assessments, which is standard practice in all EU humanitarian aid operations. Commission experts deployed to Greece work closely with the implementing organisations and monitor the EU-funded projects to ensure efficiency and maximum humanitarian impact.

The organisations to which funding has been provided are established organisations with a strong track record in delivering emergency assistance.

Is the Commission transferring emergency support funds directly to the Greek government? How do you ensure cooperation?

The Greek government receives direct financial support through other programmes and funding instruments of the European Commision.

Actions financed via the instrument for emergency support are carried out by humanitarian partners, including UN agencies, international organisations and non-governmental organisations that have a framework partnership agreement (FPA) with the European Commission.

Close cooperation with national authorities is of course important to ensure an effective response. Most of the partners have already been working in Greece in close cooperation with the authorities and with local NGOs.

How is support complementary to AMIF or ISF funds?

The Commission will continue to address possible humanitarian needs in the Member States through the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) and the Internal Security Fund (ISF). Although primarily designed to support long-term and structural measures aiming at strengthening EU Member States' permanent capacities in the field of migration and security, in emergency situations AMIF and ISF funds can also be used to cater for a wide range of short-term needs (including of a humanitarian nature), especially through their emergency assistance mechanism.

Complementarity between emergency support funds and AMIF/ISF funds is ensured by avoiding duplication of funding and ensuring that synergies are maintained. This is done through frequent communication between the relevant Commission services in Brussels and with partners on the ground.

What kind of actions and support are covered by the emergency support instrument?

The emergency support instrument aims to provide a needs-based emergency response, complementing and supplementing the response of the affected Member States. The support covers assistance and protection operations aimed at preserving life, alleviating suffering and safeguarding human dignity. Such operations encompass, for instance, the provision of basic relief items, health, education and protection services, shelter material and related services, water and sanitation, or other types of urgently needed relief.

What is the legal basis for EU emergency support in Greece?

Council Regulation (EU) 2016/369 enables the provision of emergency support in response to exceptional crises or disasters within EU Member States, which give rise to severe humanitarian consequences. The provision of emergency assistance is based on Article 122(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This allows for support to be provided in the fastest and broadest possible way, in a spirit of solidarity between Member States.

EU emergency support is meant to complement, not to replace, national emergency response actions.

In the context of the current refugee crisis in Europe, the concrete support actions are decided by the Commission based upon proposals from implementing humanitarian aid organisations with the necessary expertise, such as UN agencies, NGOs, that have a Framework Partnership Agreement with the European Commission, international organisations or specialised services of the Member States.

As a well-established principle in all disaster relief efforts, the humanitarian operation will take place in complementarity with and in support of the competent authorities of the affected country.

What has the EU's Civil Protection Mechanism done so far in response to the refugee crisis in Greece?

Thanks to the EU Civil Protection Mechanism, Greece has received over 185,000 items such as blankets, medical supplies, tents, beds and mattresses.

The list of material provided through the Civil Protection Mechanism can be found here:

The civil protection mechanism can be used to mobilise material support both within and outside the European Union. The transportation costs of such material assistance are covered by up to 85% by the EU budget.

How much money will be available for emergency support in the refugee crisis?

Based on available data on the influx of refugees from third countries, and since it can reasonably be assumed that some of these needs will be covered by other entities, up to €700 million of EU-funding will be made available via partner organisations, such as UN agencies, the Red Cross and non-governmental organisations from 2016-2018.

Can this support be used for European citizens?

The EU Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD) directly supports EU Member States' actions to provide material assistance to the most deprived. National authorities may also support non-material assistance to the most deprived people, to help them integrate better into society.

Is the emergency support instrument limited to the current refugee crisis?

Following a Commission proposal, the Council activated the emergency support instrument to direct humanitarian assistance in EU Member States which are experiencing a sudden and massive influx of third-country nationals into their territory. This activation entered into force on 16 March 2016 and is valid for three years.

However, the emergency support instrument is not limited to the current refugee crisis. It can be used, for example, in other major emergencies with wide-ranging humanitarian impacts such as nuclear or chemical accidents, terrorist or cyber-attacks and epidemics.

For more information

Press release: EU announces new €115 million emergency support to improve conditions for refugees in Greece

Factsheet: Emergency support within the EU

Factsheet: Greece and the refugee crisis

Website: Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid & Crisis Management


Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email

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