On 16 March 2016 the Council agreed to the use of funds from the EU budget to finance emergency support for Greece and other member states overwhelmed by the refugee crisis.
By backing draft amending budget no 1 as proposed by the Commission on 9 March 2016, Council agreed to make available of €100 million in commitments and €80.2 million in payments from the 2016 EU budget.
“This decision enables the EU to cover immediate and urgent needs resulting from the massive inflow of refugees. We want to alleviate the poor humanitarian situation for migrants within the EU as soon as possible. That's what this EU emergency support mechanism is all about”, said Jeroen Dijsselbloem, Minister for Finance of the Netherlands and President of the Council.
The resources approved by the Council are financed through redeployments within heading 3 (Security and citizenship) of the EU's multiannual financial framework. Depending on the evolving needs the Commission may make further proposals to secure the necessary funding of the emergency support for countries faced with major humanitarian crises, such as large numbers of arriving refugees.
The Commission estimates that €300 million will be needed to provide emergency support relating to refugees in 2016, and a further €200 million in each of the years 2017 and 2018.
By accepting draft amending budget 1/2016 the Council also approved the reinforcement of staffing levels of the European counter-terrorism centre in Europol. This is to enable the agency to play a central role in the fight against terrorism in the EU following the terrorist attacks in Paris of 13 November 2015.
Draft amending budget 1/2016 still needs the approval of the European Parliament. If the Parliament accepts the Council's position the amending budget will be adopted. If the Parliament adopts amendments a three-week conciliation period would start.
The approval of draft amending budget 1/2016 follows the creation of an EU emergency support mechanism on 15 March 2016. On the same day the Council activated this new instrument for helping Greece and other member states to deal with the current influx of refugees.