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The European Union-funded ESTIA program for asylum seekers in Greece, which has been run by the United Nations refugee agency since 2016, is to come under the control of the Migration Ministry by the end of the year as part of efforts to reduce costs and increase transparency, the ministry said on Thursday.
There had been rumors that the ESTIA program would be discontinued following the government’s announcement last month that more than 11,000 recognized refugees living in state facilities, many in ESTIA-funded apartments, will be obliged to leave.
However, according to the ministry, the ESTIA scheme will continue next year with a 91.5-million-euro budget to which regional and local authorities and non-government organizations can apply.
The ministry also said it has signed two contracts: one to speed up the transfer of migrants from the Aegean islands to the mainland and one for the recruitment of interpreters.
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