The European Union is to provide additional 180 million EUR to support refugees in Greece, including support for the flagship ‘Emergency Support to Integration & Accommodation’ (ESTIA) program that helps provide urban and out-of-campus accommodation to refugees as well as ensure that refugees have access to regular cash assistance.
ESTIA is the EU’s biggest aid initiative in Greece that works in alignment with Greek government’s ‘out of campus’ policy. So far, the program has created over 23,000 urban accommodation places and set up a cast assistance platform catering to more than 41,000 refugees and asylum seekers. The cash assistance scheme aims to reach 45,000 people by mid-2018. Refugees and asylum seekers receive pre-set monthly cash allocations through a card. This provides choice and enables them to meet their basic needs with dignity, while supporting the local economy.
“Our humanitarian programs for refugees in Greece are a clear and loud signal of European solidarity. We continue to deliver on our strong commitment to help refugees in Greece live more secure, normal and dignified lives, and facilitate their integration into the local economy and society,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. The Commissioner also paid special tribute to the Greek people who have welcome refugees in their municipalities.
On top of this new funding by the EU, six other deals were signed: with the Danish Refugee Council, Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund, Médecins du Monde, the Spanish Red Cross, as well as Greek NGOs METAdrasi and Smile of the Child – all to address pressing humanitarian needs in the country, including shelter, health care, psycho-social support, better hygiene, non-formal education, the provision of interpretation for health and protection.