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CEB finances migrant and refugee reception centres in Greece

2 October 2015

PARIS - The Council of Europe Development Bank is lending € 2 million to the North Aegean Region in Greece to co-finance two reception centres for migrants and refugees on the island of Lesbos. The loan, which will cover two-thirds of total project costs, was approved by the CEB’s Administrative Council today and is guaranteed by the Bank’s Social Dividend Account.

Fuelled by conflict and political instability in the Middle East and North Africa, the arrivals of migrants and refugees in Greece have reached unprecedented numbers in recent months. The island of Lesbos, located in the North-Eastern Aegean Sea and separated from Turkey’s coastline by a ten-mile water channel, has become one of the main entry points into the European Union for people fleeing war and poverty. About 75% of those are estimated to be potential asylum-seekers, primarily from Syria.

Accommodation facilities for asylum-seekers in Greece are currently very limited, with a total capacity of 1,100 places for the whole country and none on the Greek islands where the migratory pressure is hard-felt.

The project which the CEB co-finances will create two open accommodation centres offering 100 places for asylum-seekers, including 40 for unaccompanied children over 12 years old. The facilities will include fully-furnished living areas and also recreation and worship space. Moreover, the project will ensure the provision by qualified personnel of access to legal, administrative and social services, medical care and psychological support, language courses, and children’s educational programmes.

CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “We are very pleased to be co-financing this project which will enable migrants and refugees to re-build their lives in dignified conditions. Initiatives such as this, along with the newly established Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF), are important steps towards supporting CEB member states in their efforts to cope with the current migrant and refugee crisis.”

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.

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