Greece needs to be flexible to absorb EU health funds

20 November 2015
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European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Vytenis Andriukaitis urged Greece’s authorities to become more flexible in order to increase their absorption of European Union funds for health but also for refugees, while speaking in Athens on Friday.

He noted that the EU had already earmarked 475 million euros to spend on the refugees, with another 25 million euros approved as emergency funding for urgent needs.

“The help will be given but its immediate absorption is up to Greece,” he said.

Andriukaitis noted that Greece was going through an exceptionally difficult time in the health sector and that primary health care and its organisation were crucial so that the system will be able to serve citizens better. He repeated that the European Commission will assist with funds for the primary health care plan. Questioned about the hiring of nursing staff, he pointed out that every country decided its own priorities.

With respect to the refugee crisis, Andriukaitis said that the situation was clearly very difficult but that Europe remains a “Europe of solidarity”. Following his visit to the Aegean island of Lesvos on Thursday, he praised the efforts of Greek residents of the islands that continue to support and help refugees.

The European Commission’s goal was to use a part of the funds for prevention on precautionary medical examinations to protect the health of refugees and for their psychological support.

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