Friday, 20 May 2022
WorldEuropean Union countries ask for additional funds to accommodate Ukrainian refugees

European Union countries ask for additional funds to accommodate Ukrainian refugees



BRUSSELS

Ten member states of the European Union (EU) have asked the European Commission for additional funding and more flexible spending rules in dealing with the arrival of Ukrainian refugees, according to a joint statement released on Tuesday.

The statement signed by the ministers in charge of finance or EU funds from Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, has been quoted by news outlet Politico.

The ministers argued that the EU faced “unprecedented challenges” because of the war in Ukraine, but that “the negative impacts were asymmetrical” and “some of the effects, especially humanitarian ones, were severe and disproportionately severe in the Member States that signed the agreement. below.”

They claim that more than 5.3 million Ukrainians have arrived in their country, while nearly half of them are children, placing a heavy burden on their social security system in addition to “already high inflation and energy costs” exacerbated by the war. .

Meanwhile, they warned that “most Ukrainian workers have left our country to fight for their country’s sovereignty, labor shortages have become evident, particularly in the construction and transport sectors.”

The statement welcomed the budget assistance already adopted but called on the European Commission to submit additional proposals to strengthen EU support for refugees and their hosts.

In particular, the signatories ask the EU executive body to allow more of the remaining funds to be used from the 2014-2020 financial period and to allow for more budget flexibility and easier rules for spending them.

They also suggested “to create an optional reserve of up to 5 percent” in the Cohesion Fund dedicated to each country for the current 2021-2027 budget cycle that could be used “without additional red tape” to address the “direct and indirect effects of war.” ”

EU member states last week received a total of EUR3.5 billion (USD3.7 billion) from the EU budget to manage the arrival of Ukrainian refugees as pre-financing of post-pandemic recovery programmes.

EU countries neighboring Ukraine, which hosted the most refugees after Russia’s war began on February 24, were the biggest beneficiaries of the budget transfer.

Poland received over EUR562 million, while Romania and Hungary benefited from EUR450 million and EUR300 million, respectively.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia were supported by EUR284 million and EUR209 million, respectively.

Under the EU’s temporary protection directive, Ukrainian citizens, their family members and residents of that country are entitled to protection in any EU member state.

The protection scheme provides the right to work, residence, education, social benefits and medical assistance for at least one year with the possibility of a two-year extension.
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