Athens 30 September 2021 – From the beginning of October, the Greek government will take over the management of the cash assistance programme for asylum seekers in Greece.
Since the Spring of 2017, cash assistance has benefited the lives of more than 200,000 vulnerable asylum seekers in Greece while contributing to the local economy through the purchase of goods and services. Cash is provided to asylum seekers in Greece in the context of the country’s compliance with the EU Reception Conditions Directive according to which EU members states provide material reception conditions to all asylum seekers in need.
Cash assistance to asylum seekers in Greece is funded by the European Union. The initiative was part of the Emergency Support to Integration and Accommodation (ESTIA) programme which began in 2018 and included both an accommodation and a cash assistance component.
The accommodation component of the ESTIA scheme was handed over to the Greek government last year. UNHCR has worked closely with the Greek authorities toward the transition of ESTIA, always with the ultimate goal of the Greek State taking over this responsibility.
“Cash assistance reinforces the dignity of those who have been forced to flee, enabling them to meet their basic needs and to decide for themselves how they do so” said Mireille Girard, UNHCR Representative in Greece.
After over four years of managing the cash assistance programme, UNHCR completed its last payment covering until 30 September 2021. As of 1 October 2021, the Greek authorities will take over the programme.
The ESTIA programme has shown positive outcomes for both local communities and asylum-seekers, supporting social cohesion and integration. UNHCR will continue to support the Greek government in its efforts to ensure that the ESTIA model programme continues to be successful as an important component of the Greek reception system.
“It is important that all asylum seekers in need of support continue to receive it without interruption and that they are informed about the new programme during this transition” added Ms. Girard.