Greece - EEA Grants, a funding mechanism supported by European Economic Area (EEA) members Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein, has signed an agreement with IOM that will provide EUR 4 million to support NGOs in Greece that run reception centres for vulnerable migrants and asylum seekers, especially unaccompanied minors.
Greece, which is struggling to cope with the economic crisis, austerity measures and 25% unemployment, currently hosts an estimated 810,000 irregular migrants, including some 44,000 asylum seekers, many of whom have become stranded en route to other European Community countries.
The new 3-year programme, which will be managed by IOM Greece, will help participating NGOs to plan ahead and work with local authorities to improve or expand the services they offer to the most vulnerable, particularly unaccompanied minors.
Greece currently has very few reception centres for vulnerable migrants, putting many at risk and forcing them to sleep in parks and other public spaces.
Existing reception centres, which provide the migrants with shelter, food, health care and other essential services, are mainly run by NGOs, many of which depend on uncertain, short-term donations.
In January 2013, IOM Greece will launch a call for proposals allowing NGOs that already run reception centres and wish to improve their services, and NGOs that wish to start new reception centres, to apply for funding under the new project.
NGOs applying for funding will be encouraged to work with host municipalities and other local authorities, preferably located outside the Athens area.
The new funding is part of a EUR 20.9 million allocation from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants mechanism to improve the asylum and migration sector in Greece.
It will contribute to the ongoing reform of Greece’s asylum and migration sector started in 2010 with backing from the European Commission.
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