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Parliamentary questions
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12 February 2019
E-005637/2018(ASW)
Joint answer given by Mr Avramopoulos on behalf of the European Commission
Written questions: E-005730/18 , P-005883/18 , E-005793/18 , E-005637/18 , P-005890/18 , E-005945/18
Question references: E-005637/2018, E-005730/2018, E-005793/2018, P-005883/2018, P-005890/2018, E-005945/2018

The European Commission funds its humanitarian partners to implement cash assistance programmes in several countries including Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, and Greece, with the majority of beneficiaries being displaced due to the civil war in Syria.

In Greece, humanitarian cash assistance is provided in the form of pre-paid cash cards to eligible asylum applicants and beneficiaries of international protection, in principle for a maximum period of six months, as set out by the Greek Ministry for Migration Policy, which centrally coordinates the programme. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) implements the programme in cooperation with two other international humanitarian organisations (Catholic Relief Service and the International Federation of the Red Cross). In line with EC law(1), the programme ensures that asylum applicants are provided with material reception conditions to meet their basic needs in a dignified, legal and efficient way.

Over 90 000 beneficiaries have received cash assistance in the framework of this programme, receiving a pre-defined limit per month, set in accordance with the composition of each family and aligned with Greece’s social solidarity income. Cards can only be loaded directly by UNHCR and their implementing partners. Throughout the 2016-2018 programme period, the Commission has allocated around EUR 122 million to multi-purpose cash assistance for beneficiaries in Greece.

The cards include a number that refers to the identity of the beneficiary enrolled in the programme. The identity of the card-holder is verified monthly by a physical check. Cards are cancelled if any abuse or wrong identity is detected. Cards can only be used in Greece.

(1)Article 2(g) of Directive 2013/33 laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection provides that ‘material reception conditions’ means reception conditions that include housing, food and clothing provided in kind, or as financial allowances or in vouchers, or a combination of the three; and a daily expenses allowance.

Last updated: 12 February 2019Legal notice