Patrick Grady – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Home Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Patrick Grady on 2016-03-02.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what support the Government is giving to (a) the government of Greece and (b) civil society organisations in Greece to assist the response to the arrival of migrants and refugees.

James Brokenshire

The UK has contributed over £19 million in humanitarian support to Greece: almost £8 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), almost £7.5 million to Non Governmental Organistions (NGOs), over £1.6 million to the Red Cross, over £1 million to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), and almost £1 million of essential supplies (blankets, sleeping mats, tents, solar lanterns, generators). We are assessing how best to target further humanitarian support in 2016, including through EU routes.

Through UK aid in Greece, UNHCR expects to support approximately 250,000 migrants and refugees with life-saving humanitarian aid through: reception, protection, accommodation, water and non-food Items. UNHCR and the IOM are also working with the government of Greece to improve their capacity to receive and manage refugees and migrants.

In bilateral support to the Government of Greece the UK Government is providing direct support to the Hellenic Coast Guard in the Aegean Sea. The UK Border Force hired offshore patrol vessel, VOS Grace, is currently deployed in the Aegean.

In addition, the Government is funding a voluntary returns programme (£2 million over 2 years 2014-2016) and asylum programmes (totalling £600,000 over 3 years) in Greece through NGOs. The Home Office has a long-term secondee to the Greek Government based in Athens, supporting improvements in Greek asylum system capability.

In 2016, the UK Government has committed to provide 34 months of staff deployment to Frontex operations in Greece. Debriefing and screening support has also been offered bilaterally to the Hellenic Police. And the UK Government has provided five month-long secondments to the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) for deployment at Hotspot sites in both Greece and Italy.