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European Union approves 2.4 billion euros funding for migration crisis
August 10, 2015 / 11:13 AM / 2 years ago

European Union approves 2.4 billion euros funding for migration crisis

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission on Monday approved 2.4 billion euros ($2.6 billion) of aid over six years for countries including Greece and Italy that have struggled to cope with a surge in numbers of immigrants.

Italy is to receive the most aid - nearly 560 million euros, while Greece will receive 473 million.

Tensions have escalated this year as thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa try to gain asylum in the European Union.

Calais, a bottleneck for migrants attempting to enter Britain illegally through the Eurotunnel from France, has seen several migrant deaths this month.

Britain has already received its 27 million euros from the commission in emergency aid funding, which it applied for in March. France will receive its 20 million euros later this month.

Frontex helicopter patrols over Syrian refugees arriving on an overcrowded dinghy at a beach at the Greek island of Lesbos August 10, 2015. REUTERS/Antonis Pasvantis

However, neither country has requested additional aid for security in Calais and will not receive funds from the aid programs announced today.

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“We are now able to disburse the funding for the French national program and the UK has already received the first disbursement of its funding,” Natasha Berthaud, a European Commission spokeswoman, told a news conference.

“Both of these programs will, amongst other things, also deal with the situation in Calais.”

The Commission plans to approve an additional 13 programs later this year, which will then be implemented by EU member states.

(This story has been corrected to show French, British funding was approved in March)

Reporting by Alexander Saeedy; Editing by Barbara Lewis, Louise Ireland and Digby Lidstone

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