The European Union stands ready to extend additional aid to help Greece if needed to deal with the refugee crisis, the vice-president of the bloc’s executive Commission said on Monday during a visit to Athens.
Valdis Dombrovskis’ comments came after EU leaders agreed late on Sunday to cooperate to manage migrants crossing Greece and the Balkans but offered no quick fix to the crisis, which threatens to take more lives as winter sets in and to set Europe’s nations against one another.
“From the Commission’s point of view, we are willing to find additional means of supporting those countries which are most exposed to the refugee crisis and Greece is among them,” Dombrovskis told a news conference.
More than half a million people have transited through Greece this year, many of them fleeing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Most move on to destinations in wealthier western and northern Europe, especially Germany. The EU’s new action plan agreed on Sunday evening includes United Nations-aided accommodation for 100,000 people, half of them in Greece.
Dombrovskis was in Athens for talks with the finance and economy ministers on Greece’s latest economic reform efforts under the terms of its 86 billion euro bailout.
Dombrovskis said he was optimistic that a ‘compromise’ could be found in the talks with lenders, which have hit a snag over protection for homeowners whose mortgages are non-performing.