EU promises financial, border help to Greece over migrant surge

KASTANIES, GREECE (AFP) – European Union (EU) chiefs on Tuesday pledged millions of euros of financial assistance to Greece to help tackle the migration surge from neighbouring Turkey, warning against those wishing to “test Europe’s unity”.

Flying by helicopter over the Greek-Turkish border, where thousands of desperate asylum-seekers have tried to break through for days, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the bloc would provide Greece “all the support needed”.

“Those who seek to test Europe’s unity will be disappointed,” von der Leyen said, standing alongside Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and the chiefs of the European Council and European Parliament.

“We will hold the line and our unity will prevail.”

The European Commission President said the bloc would provide EUR700 million euros, half of it immediately, to help manage the migrant situation.

In addition, the EU border agency Frontex will deploy a rapid intervention team including an additional 100 guards backed by coastal patrol vessels, helicopters and vehicles, she said.

A woman protects her child as police dispearse migrants who gathered outside the port of Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos. PHOTO: AFP