The price of human dignity for the tens of thousands of economic migrants now living in Greece has been calculated by the European Union (EU) to equal large amounts of taxpayer cash stuffed into envelopes and distributed amongst those it believes qualify as most in need.
Under a new EU aid plan, a large part of its £550million disaster fund will be given directly to migrants in hard cash to spend as they wish to help keep their “dignity” intact and save them from having to queue at volunteer aid agencies.
They can then use the funds to spend as they wish and not account for any of it, the Daily Mail reports. EU officials are yet to decide which funds to divert to find the cash, which will need the approval of national governments and MEPs.
Christos Stylianides, the EU humanitarian aid commissioner, said he believed migrants should have the option of buying things themselves and his suggestion contradicts internal European Commission documents warning about “corruption and security risks” when providing humanitarian assistance in cash.
The decision to distribute aid in the form of euros comes just days after Breitbart London reported that migrants in Greece, unhappy with conditions in their host nation, used a home-made battering ram in an attempt to force their way into neighbouring Macedonia.
It also follows the announcement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel who said her government is unable to help Greece with the migrant crisis because times “have moved on” since she was able to help Hungary out with a similar problem in 2015.
Tory MEP David Campbell-Bannerman last night told the Mail that cash handouts will cause more problems than they solve: “There is a danger that by handing over cash rather than basic essentials, British taxpayers’ money could end up in the hands of the human traffickers smuggling people through Europe. This is no way to ensure our security in Britain.”
Despite such criticism, Mr Stylianides is firm in his belief that the commission could “help refugees on the ground to make sure they can survive and have the best possible living conditions” including through giving cash and/or redeemable vouchers.
He said: “I believe that in Greece, given that it is a European country that has a certain degree of a good functioning of the banking sector, we could apply the cash and voucher procedure.
“It is my own personal view that the cash and voucher procedure will prove particularly helpful in this case and it is an important option being given as it ensures dignity for refugees, while helping local communities because they will be selling their own goods and services.”
Meanwhile, European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker last night said he was “not only concerned but really worried” about the situation in Greece where around 30,000 people are waiting for borders to reopen so they can continue to other parts of Europe.
Greek authorities have asked for around 480 million euros from Brussels to help shelter 100,000 migrants.