European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos said on Wednesday that the EU has assisted Greece with 2 billion euros worth of subsidies.
Avramopoulos made the comments during a press conference in Brussels, stressing that the EU’s help was not only financial but concerned also political and operational matters.
“If the EU had not stood by Greece through all these years, the situation would have been unbearable,” he said, adding that the EU Commission will continue working closely with the Greek authorities and provide any necessary assistance.
Avramopoulos then noted that on December 20, the Commission approved 289,000,000 euros in supplementary funds to help with the migrant situation in Greece, out of which 350,000 euros were destined for winter preparations to cover the migrants’ needs in the islands and in Evros.
“We cannot continue to rely on unplanned, ad-hoc solutions concerning migrant arrivals,” he said, and stressed that what the EU needs is a mechanism that makes sense and is viable, as the migratory and refugee issues are “here to stay for many years.”
The year 2018 saw 150,000 migrant transits to the EU, Avramopoulos continued, making it a record low since 2015. Since 2015, he added, the EU has helped in the rescue of over 650,000 people at sea.
Finally, he stressed the importance of cooperating with third countries in order to reduce human trafficking, as well as the need to reinforce the outside borders of Europe with a force of 10,000 guards, as the Committee had suggested.