BRUSSELS:The European Commission has approved 2.4 billion euros (US$2.6 billion) of aid over six years for countries including Greece and Italy that have struggled to cope with a surge in numbers of immigrants.
Thousands of migrants have lost their lives in recent past in their bid to cross over from africa and other parts of the world to Europe.
Italy is to receive the most aid – nearly 560 million euros, while Greece will receive 473 million.
Tensions have escalated this year as thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa try to gain asylum in the European Union.
In Calais, a bottleneck for migrants attempting to enter Britain illegally through the Eurotunnel from France, has seen several migrant deaths this month.
Some of the newly approved aid will be disbursed to French and British authorities tackling the crisis in Calais.
“We are now able to disburse the funding for the French national programme and the UK has already received the first disbursement of its funding,” Natasha Berthaud, a European Commission spokeswoman, told a news conference.
“Both of these programmes will, amongst other things, also deal with the situation in Calais.”
The Commission plans to approve an additional 13 programmes later this year, which will then be implemented by EU member states.
(US$1 = 0.9143 euros).