Members of the European Parliament have requested that EU institutions and member states provide urgent assistance to migrants and refugees who are facing cold weather and snow in a number of EU countries. They also called on European governments to keep their promises to resettle thousands of asylum seekers, especially from Greece, to other countries in the Union.
The European Parliament said that requests made by members for refugees and migrants to be assisted stemmed from the plight of refugees in the Greek islands and in other countries such as Serbia and Macedonia, and described what was happening as “unacceptable”. Some MEPs asked “How many people must die from the cold before the European Union responds?” Some members pointed out that only 6 per cent of the 160,000 refugees who asked to be transferred from Greece and Italy have actually been resettled in other countries.
The EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides said that “This situation is very painful, and the European Union has allocated enough funds to help Greece deal with these unprecedented circumstances, and some conditions on the ground have not allowed us to use these funds in a better manner”.
The EU has implemented two programmes since 2015 to resettle refugees; one aims to transfer 22,500 refugees who have arrived from Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, and the second programme aims to resettle 160,000 refugees who are in the EU in other European countries.