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Prague to send CZK 105 million more in aid of refugees in 2015

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Prague, Nov 2 (CTK) – The Czech government will send 105 million crowns in aid of the countries that are worst hit by the migrant crisis by the year’s end and another 68 million will be released in 2016, Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek and Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka told reporters on Monday.

The money was allocated additionally beyond the original budget that projected expenditures in connection with migration at about one billion crowns.

The money will mainly go to two EU funds, for Syria and for Africa.

Sobotka and Zaoralek (both Social Democrats, CSSD) stressed that the Czech aid would go directly to the countries from which refugees were flowing to Europe.

The Czech Republic will make further contributions to the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Office of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“We help deal with the migrant crisis where it is arising: an additional 105 million will go to the Middle East and Africa, the WFP and the UNHCR this year,” Sobotka wrote on Twitter.

Zaoralek added that the government would thereby like to reduce the influx of refugees to Europe.

“We want to target the aid on the countries where refugees stay in camps, such as Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan,” Zaoralek said.

According to the Foreign Ministry´s data, the government earmarked more than one billion crowns this year for the countries facing the migration consequences. The Czech Republic helps fund development projects to stabilise the countries through which refugees are flowing westwards.

The other part is humanitarian aid. Compared to last year, this year´s expenditures for these purposes increased by 292 million crowns.

Zaoralek plans a similar sum for next year. A considerable rise in humanitarian aid would have to be debated by the government coalition and the opposition would have to support it, too, he said, adding that he would personally welcome an increase in humanitarian aid expenditures.

The Czech Republic will send most of the money to the Madad (means help in Arabic) EU regional trust fund that the European Commission and Italy founded last December.

The EU and Italy made initial deposits of 40 million euros in the fund. Germany, one of other contributors, later announced it is sending five million euros to the fund.

Zaoralek said the Czech Republic would release 68 million crowns to the fund by the end of the year and it planned to send the same sum in 2016. Prague will also participate in the decision-making on the use of the money.

The Madad fund is destined mainly for refugees from Syria and Iraq who live in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

The Czech Republic has some experience with the use of the fund, Zaoralek added.

Further 16 million crowns will be allocated to the European fund in aid of Africa. The Czech Republic will also send another 16 million crowns to the WFP distributing foodstuffs to refugees. The remaining five million will go to the UNHCR as the main coordinator of help for refugees from Syria in the Middle East.

The Czech Republic is quite a generous donor within the region of Central and Eastern Europe, Zaoralek noted.

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