THESSALONIKI, Greece – The Latest on Europe's migration crisis (all times local):
The European Union's head office wants to swiftly push through a proposal to earmark 700 million euros ($760 million) in humanitarian aid to deal with the refugee crisis.
EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Christos Stylianides says Wednesday that 300 million euros ($325 million) would be earmarked for this year and be used "where it is most needed," alluding to Greece and the nations along the Balkan trail that refugees use to move into the heartland of the 28-nation bloc The overall total would cover three years.
Stylianides says the funds would not be diverted from aid programs aimed at non-EU nations.
His proposal will still need to be approved by the European parliament and the member states. EU leaders meet Monday for a summit focusing on the migration issue.
Macedonia has intermittently opened its border with Greece to a tiny trickle of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, leaving about 10,000 more people camped on the Greek side, with more arriving daily.
The border bottleneck has left at least 25,000 people stranded in Greece, the first European country that migrants reach in smuggling boats from Turkey. As the prosperous but divided continent flails in search of a solution to the migration crisis, individual countries led by Austria have imposed refugee caps that have caused a domino effect down the Balkan migrant corridor, which was traversed by a million people over the past year.
Greek police say Macedonian police opened the Idomeni crossing at midnight Tuesday and at 7 a.m. Wednesday, each time for two hours. They admitted a total of 170 people from Syria and Iraq — the only nationalities allowed to continue north.
Macedonia says it will only allow in as many refugees as Serbia, its northern neighbor, accepts each day.
Testorides reported from Skopje, Macedonia. Nicholas Paphitis in Athens contributed.
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