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Poland wants more refugee money from EU — Analysis

Brussels has offered only €144.6 million to help Warsaw shoulder the costs of hosting 3 million Ukrainians, and the money hasn’t arrived

Poland reportedly hasn’t received any of the money promised from the EU to help cope with the costs of hosting more than 3 million Ukrainian refugees, and even the funds that have been pledged are paltry relative to the massive influx of people fleeing the former Soviet republic.

None of the €144.6 million that the European Commission offered to help Warsaw get through the Russia-Ukraine crisis has been transferred, Polish Deputy Interior Minister Pawel Szefernaker told the Polish Press Agency in an article posted on Saturday. He stated that the EU’s support for Ukraine has not been sufficient, given that Poland is the most popular destination for Ukrainian refugees and will cost them billions of euro.

A United Nations estimate says that more than 3 million Ukrainians have fled the violence in their homeland and crossed to Poland. Some refugees have moved on to other countries.

Poland doesn’t have border controls to other countries in the Schengen Area. EU countries allow Ukrainians to remain for three years. Warsaw estimates over 3,000,000 Ukrainians are still in Poland. Half of these will want to stay longer.

According to the Polish Press Agency, the EU will tap into unutilized funding for Poland in past budgets as well as from the Covid-19 Recovery Program to help pay for refugee aid. Anittaa HIPPER, a spokesperson for the European Commission, stated to media outlets that Poland’s subvention agreements must be resolved first. Even if and when that money arrives, it won’t meet Warsaw’s financial need.

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“The measures referred to by the European Commission are not additional measures,”Szefernaker is the deputy interior minister. “These are resources shifted from various other funds that were already in the budget of the European Union.”He said that such shifting of funding would force Poland to stop other projects, and it will not be enough to cover the refugee influx.

Poland’s government has given Ukrainian refugees free health care, education and other services. About 80% live in private houses of Polish citizens.

“From the beginning, we said that the help we provide goes into the billions of euros, not millions,”Szefernaker added. “EU aid to countries that help refugees should also amount to billions of euros.”

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