The European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides met with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in Athens on Monday to discuss the European Commission’s plan to provide €180 million earmarked for aid projects in Greece, including an expansion of the flagship Emergency Support to Integration & Accommodation (ESTIA) programme.
Launched in July 2017 with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), ESTIA has provided over 23,000 urban accommodation places and set up a cash assistance scheme serving more than 41,000 refugees and asylum seekers. The aid programme is the biggest EU operation in Greece and remains the main path for refugees to move from crowded temporary refugee camps into urban accommodation. Through the programme also provides regular cash assistance for the refugees.
“Our humanitarian programmes for refugees in Greece are a clear 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,” Stylianides said, adding that he wanted to thank “the Greek citizens and mayors who have welcomed refugees into their municipalities with great empathy and care.”
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, will also help provide shelter, primary health care, psychological support, and educational courses.
After the refugee crisis broke out in Greece in mid-2015, the European Commission has made provided over €1.5 billion of support to Athens to help manage the humanitarian situation.