The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced Thursday that the Greek government will take over the management of the cash assistance program for asylum seekers in Greece from October 1.

Since spring 2017, cash assistance has been provided to more than 200,000 vulnerable asylum seekers in Greece through the European Union and in accordance with the EU Reception Conditions Directive, UNHCR said in a statement.

The initiative was part of the Emergency Integration and Housing Assistance Program (ESTIA), which started in 2018 and included both housing and a cash assistance component. The accommodation aspect of ESTIA was transferred to Greece in 2020, and UNHCR worked with Greece for the full transition of the program after managing it for four years.

“Cash assistance enhances the dignity of those who have been forced to flee, enabling them to meet their basic needs and decide for themselves how to do it,” said Mireille Girard, UNHCR representative in Greece. “It is important that all asylum seekers in need of support continue to receive it without interruption and that they are informed of the new program during this transition,” added Girard.

For its part, the Ministry of Migration and Asylum said in a statement that the transition “is an important step and is part of the government’s plan to take full control of the migration issue.” He also thanked UNHCR for its collaboration and the European Commission for funding the program.

As the ministry has already indicated, cash assistance is only provided to asylum seekers who live in the reception centers of the ministry or in establishments managed by international organizations, legal persons. public, regional administrative agencies and registered nonprofit organizations, and who do not work or are not earning sufficient funds to live.

Key words:
asylum seekers, cash assistance program, EU, European directive on reception conditions, Greece, Greek government, Mireille Girard, refugees, UNHCR, United Nations, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

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