5 billion € of the EU to Greece for migration and asylum – and still such conditions?

Since 2014, the European Union has provided a total of €4.96 billion to Greece to address migration and border challenges.

The European Union's support to Greece is provided through four pots: the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the Internal Security Fund (ISF), the  Emergency Support Instrument (ESI) and the Border Management and Visa Policy Instrument (BMVI). The largest pot is the AMIF, through which a total of €9.88 billion has been made available in the current Multiannual Financial Framework. Greece has been allocated €2.75 billion from this pot since 2014. Through this budget item, EU member states are supported for the purpose of the efficient management of migration and the implementation and strengthening of the Common European Asylum System. The ISF provides money for the management of visas and entry, control of external borders, but also returns, for example through Frontex. Here, nearly half a billion € has been provided to Greece since 2014. The ESI is used to support emergencies and gives money for humanitarian aid, the share was €668.9 million. The BMVI has the task of ensuring European border protection at the external borders of the Union. Most of the regular money from AMIF, ISF, ESI and BMVI goes to the national authorities, i.e. the Greek authorities dealing with migration and asylum, such as the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum. 

In addition to the regular requirements, funds can also be mobilized from AMIF and ISF for other short-term emergency needs ("Emergency Assistance"). In the case of Greece, the funds disbursed between 2014 and 2020 from Emergency Assistance represent the largest sum of all funds, in total 2,07 € billion. 1.25 € billion of all funds of the Emergency Assistance 820 million went to international organizations and €820 million to the Greek authorities.

How much money has actually flowed?

In fact the Greek authorities received 2.59 € billion, under the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) from 2014 to 2020. In this context, it is particularly important to note that 3.38 € billion awarded were made, but a large part of it was not spent. This clearly shows that the funds available are necessary to provide adequate and dignified care for refugees on the Greek islands and on the mainland, but the political will is missingto implement it in this way. 

Basic requirements of the EU Reception Directive are still not being met in Greece, such as the right to education for children. The provision of food is also still problematic and inadequate. Enough money would actually be available to solve the problems in the long term. Even the European Court of Auditors as the EU's own authority, came in its Annual Report 2019 reached similar conclusions, without explicitly naming them as such. There was no explicit misappropriation of funds, but some funds from Emergency Assistance were misappropriated for longer-term projects and structures, although they may only be used flexibly for short-term emergency needs. In addition, the ACA criticized the inefficient use of the funds and thus the Discrepancy between EU targets and actual results – in other words, the lack of political will. Now, the money is not only going to the Greek authorities, but also to international organisations. But even more money to international organisations is not necessarily helpful if the Greek government does not support their work. blocked and criminalized, as is the case especially on the Greek islands. 

For those who would like to take a closer look at the money budgeted and flowed and the MFF 2014-2020, you can find here is an overview from the European Commission. It also presents how much money went to the different international organization as well as to which Greek authorities. 

A consideration of the Numbers makes one thing very clear again. Almost €5 billion has been allocated to Greece for migration and asylum since the summer of migration in 2015. The state authorities and organizations actually have enough resources to treat and care for people with dignity. But it seems politically undesirable. How much money will actually be drawn down under the current financial framework remains to be seen.