The European Commission and the UNHCR yesterday (14.12.2015) launched a scheme to provide 20,000 additional places for asylum seekers and relocation candidates in Greece, through a housing subsidy programme.

Kristalina Georgieva, Vice President of the European Commission, responsible for Budget and Human Resources, met with the Secretary General of the Migration Policy Ministry and the Mayor of Athens to discuss the implementation of the scheme.

At an event held on the premises of the Representation of the European Commission in Athens, Georgieva, on behalf of the European Commission,together with George Okoth-Obbo, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, and Ioannis Mouzalas, Alternate Minister of Interior and Administrative Reconstruction of Greece, signed a Common Declaration expressing the European Commission’s “solidarity with Greece and with children, women and men seeking refuge in Europe”.

Under this declaration, the Commission is providing €80 million funding from its 2016 budget for the UNHCR to support Greece in developing its asylum reception capacity, through rent subsidies and host family programmes. The places provided under this scheme are an important part of the EU emergency relocation scheme, providing temporary accommodation in Greece for applicants awaiting relocation to other EU Member States, acknowledging that Greece is one of the Member States most impacted by the unprecedented refugee crisis facing Europe, with more than 750,000 third country nationals having arrived in the country in 2015.