The European Union said Tuesday it was ready to ease budgetary rules for eurozone countries to help them deal with an unprecedented influx of migrants from war and repression in Syria and other conflict zones.
In its assessment of member states' budget plans for 2016, the European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation bloc, said several countries had mentioned the impact of the crisis.
The Commission said there was was "flexibility" in the rules that could accommodate "unusual events outside the control of the government" and that it was "willing to use these provisions."
"Deviations deriving only and directly from the net extra costs of the refugee crisis will not lead to any stepping up in the procedures" that are taken against countries which break the EU rules, it said.
EU laws adopted after the eurozone debt crisis mean that countries must keep their deficit below 3.0 percent of gross annual product.
Separately, EU economic commissioner Pierre Moscovici indicated Brussels would be lenient with France after it said that extra spending on security after the Paris attacks meant it would breach the rules.
More than 800,000 refugees and migrants have landed in Europe so far this year and more than 3,000 have died while crossing the Mediterranean in search of a new life in the world's largest economy.
The crisis has caused tensions within the EU over how to deal with the flow of people, with fears that the bloc's passport-free Schengen area could collapse as countries reinstate border controls.
The EU said on November 5 that an expected total influx of three million migrants by 2017 would in fact have a small positive impact on the economy, due to higher public spending and an increase in the number of available workers.