The Council of the European Union today adopted amendments allowing member states to divert funds from Cohesion Policy Funds and the European Fund for the Most Deprived (FEAD) to help refugees fleeing Russian military aggression against Ukraine.
The adopted Cohesion’s Action for Refugees in Europe (CARE) is an important step in ensuring that member states have sufficient resources to meet the growing needs for housing, education and healthcare, the Council said in a press release.
The changes include exceptional flexibility to transfer resources between programmes financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund to address the inflow of refugees. This flexibility means, for example, that ERDF resources earmarked for infrastructural projects can be reallocated to provide healthcare and education to persons escaping Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Member states can use up to €9.5 billion under the 2022 tranche of REACT-EU, one of the largest post-pandemic EU public investment programmes, as well as unallocated cohesion policy resources under the 2014-2020 budgetary period.
CARE also extends by a year the 100% financing from the EU budget for cohesion programmes. This will alleviate the burden on national and regional budgets due to the inflow of refugees from Ukraine. The extension of the 100% financing, the unlocking of unprogrammed 2014-2020 cohesion funding, and the 2022 REACT-EU tranche are estimated to release almost €17 billion in total.
The Council also adopted an amendment to the 2014-2020 home affairs funds and to the 2021-2027 asylum, migration and integration fund. This amendment would provide additional resources previously earmarked for other purposes to accommodate those fleeing the war in Ukraine. It is expected that a maximum of €420 million will be allocated from the unutilised support funds.
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