A migrant at a detention center in Vydeniai, Lithuania | Photo: EPA/Toms Kalnins
A migrant at a detention center in Vydeniai, Lithuania | Photo: EPA/Toms Kalnins

Following the arrival of thousands of migrants via Belarus, the European Commission has approved €36.7 million in funding for Lithuania. The support includes emergency care, medical treatment and COVID isolation facilities, the commission announced.

The European Commission is allocating €36.7 million from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund to Lithuania, they announced on Wednesday (August 11). The money is supposed to "help improve reception capacity in Lithuania following the exceptional number of people irregularly crossing the Lithuania-Belarus border," the commission said in a statement.

They money will fund services including emergency care, medical treatment, COVID isolation facilities, vaccines, clothing, and hygiene kits, according to the commission.

More than 4,000 migrants arrived this year

Lithuania and EU member states bordering on Belarus have recently seen a stark increase in migrant arrivals. So far this year, more than 4,000 migrants and refugees have reportedly crossed into Lithuania, compared to less than 100 in all of 2020.

The decision came after a visit by Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson to Lithuania in early August, where she had pledged to allocate EU funds to Lithuania.

"The EU Commission is today giving €36.7 million in emergency assistance to Lithuania to help with the situation at the Belarus border where people continue to be used as political instruments. The EU stands as one against such actions," European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas wrote on Twitter.

Accusations against Belarusian regime

EU officials have repeatedly accused Belarus authoritian leader Alexander Lukashenko of using migrants to lash out against the Europen Union, which recently launched sanctions against Belarus following repressions against the country's political opposition. Lukashenko has rejected these accusations.

EU Commission Ylva Johansson recently said that the situation at the Lithuanian, Latvian and Polish borders with Belarus will be at the center of an EU interior ministers video conference scheduled for August 18.


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