BRUSSELS (ANA/C. Vasilaki) – The European Commission took note of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ intention to provide relief to Greek islanders who have been hit by refugee flows but will need to examine those measures closely before commenting further, spokeswoman Annika Breidthardt said on Friday during a regular press briefing in Brussels.

Breidthardt was commenting on aid measures announced by the Greek premier on Thursday night, which include providing economic aid to low-income pensioners and keeping VAT rates unchanged – instead of increasing them – for the duration of the refugee crisis.

“The European Commission took note of the declaration yesterday by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and of his commitment to abide by the program’s objectives. Let me stress that the Commission is acutely aware of the challenges for the Aegean islands from large migration inflows and that the Commission has been actively working with the Greek authorities to alleviate the burden. The Commission is willing to consider proposals of the Greek authorities and how this can best be achieved taking into account MoU commitments,” she said.

“Let me also recall that the program includes clear commitments to discuss all measures related to program objectives with the institutions in advance and commitments on how to handle situations of over performance to agreed primary surplus targets. The Commission will discuss the way forward with the other institutions,” she said.

Asked if the Commission knew about the announcement made by the Greek government, Breidthardt responded negatively, saying the body will now need to examine Tsipras’ measures.

“The Commission was not made aware of all the details of the announcement before they were made and therefore we will need to study them before commenting any further or acting further,” she said.

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