The European Commission today outlined the substantial support the EU is making available to help people fleeing war in Ukraine, as well as the EU countries receiving them.
The assistance available includes:
· Humanitarian support: As President von der Leyen has announced, €500 million from the EU budget is being directed to deal with the tragic humanitarian consequences of the war, both inside Ukraine and beyond. Of this, €90 million in humanitarian aid, including €85 million for Ukraine and €5 million for Moldova, is already under way to provide food, as well as water, healthcare, shelter, and to help cover the basic needs of the most vulnerable. Through the largest ever activation of the EU Civil Protection Mechanism in response to an emergency, millions of items including vehicles, medical kits, tents, blankets, and sleeping bags have already reached those in need in Ukraine, while further assistance is delivered to neighbouring Moldova, Poland and Slovakia to support all those fleeing the war.
· Support for border management: The European Commission has issued guidelines to help Member States’ border guards in managing arrivals at the borders with Ukraine efficiently and to reduce waiting time while maintaining a high level of security. EU agencies are also providing extra staff and expertise to support Member States, with for instance 49 Frontex staff deployed at the EU-Ukraine and Moldova-Ukraine borders, and an extra 162 staff deployed to Romania. Moldova will also receive an additional €15 million to help manage the situation.
· Protection for those fleeing and support for reception capacity: In record time, the EU unanimously agreed to activate the Temporary Protection Directive to bring clarity and security to people in need, offering rights to welfare support, access to the job market and education. Central to this approach is the solidarity between Member States. A ‘Solidarity Platform’, where Member States can exchange information about reception capacity will be coordinated by the European Commission. The Home Affairs funds for 2021-27 will also bring significant extra resources for Member States to ensure adequate reception facilities and effective asylum procedures. The Commission is also proposing to prolong the implementation period for the money available to Member States under the 2014-2020 Home Affairs funds, which would release around €420 million in additional support.
· Cohesion policy action for refugees in Europe: The Commission is also adopting the “Cohesion’s Action for Refugees in Europe” (CARE) legislative proposal. This will bring additional flexibility to finance a wide range of measures supporting people fleeing Ukraine, from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Fund for the European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD). For example, these cohesion funds can be spent on investments in education, employment, housing, health and childcare services, and in the case of FEAD, on basic material assistance like food and clothing. To further support Member States, the exceptional 100% co-financing rate applied in response to the pandemic will be extended by a year. Moreover, around €10 billion from the 2022 Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (‘REACT-EU’) funds is readily available and can also be used to finance actions to support those fleeing Ukraine.
“With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, war has unfortunately returned to Europe and in these darkest hours we need to help Ukraine but also its neighbours who are affected,” said Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Olivér Várhelyi. Our first emergency assistance is already being delivered. And we are, as part of €500 million, urgently preparing a package of €330 million to provide assistance to people both in Ukraine and those forced to flee, especially the children and the elderly.
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Communication on European solidarity with refugees and those fleeing war in Ukraine
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