Since the beginning of 2015, 1 million refugees and migrants have entered Greece and $654 million in refugee-related funding has come from the European Commission. Of this total, the Greek government received $188 million, a further $185 million went to organizations dealing with refugee protection, asylum and migration: the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) and the European Asylum Support Office (EASO)
Read The Full Investigation: The Refugee Archipelago: The Inside Story of What Went Wrong in Greece
Attempts to decipher European funding usually cite a half-billion euro ($529 million) six-year program that is part of the main commission budget and falls under the same AMIF, ISF funds. This is not helpful as a significant amount of it is earmarked for purposes beyond the refugee crisis – such as biometric control systems. But the ministry of development confirmed to Refugees Deeply that $74 million of this had been tapped for refugee-related activities.
The other route for commission money coming into the crisis response in Greece began in March 2016, when it was decided to involve the E.C.’s own humanitarian directorate, ECHO, an organization usually deployed to crisis situations in the developing world. ECHO made its debut inside the E.U. during the Greek crisis, contracting $203 million to non-state actors. Only the larger international nongovernmental organizations meet ECHO’s reporting requirements and 11 of them received funds in addition to the UNHCR, IOM and UNICEF, the U.N. children’s agency.
The UNHCR had access to approximately $30.2 million in additional funds from bilateral and private donors in the same period on top of European funds, reaching a total of $161 million. The IOM had another $2.6 million available, coming from bilateral donors as well as the Council of Europe Bank, reaching a total of $58 million.
The organization Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which stopped accepting E.U. funds in protest over its migration policies, estimates it has spent $32.4 million from 2015 to June 2016 in helping to manage the fallout in Greece. A large part of this funding was deployed to mitigate appalling conditions at the informal refugee settlement at Idomeni.
Foreign assistance has not been confined to the commission: Several countries, including the U.S., Britain and Germany, have made large bilateral contributions in Greece through major international nongovernmental organizations and intergovernmental agencies such as the IOM and UNHCR. Various alternative sources of aid have also contributed small amounts. Since July 2016, the European Economic Area, which includes Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, has run a program worth $2.4 million. Absent from these figures are the private donations made both to the international NGOs, excepting MSF, and to other smaller charities and volunteer groups, for which no accurate current estimates exist.
The total traceable foreign assistance from all these routes is $803 million. This is almost certainly a conservative figure compared to what has actually been spent.