The European Commission on Wednesday proposed more flexibility in the release of funds from the European budget to help member states and local authorities meet the needs of Ukrainian refugees.
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These funds come from the cohesion policy, intended to finance projects to reduce economic and social inequalities between EU regions.
Some €3.5 billion of these funds can be disbursed in advance in 2022 and 2023. They come on top of the €3.5 billion in pre-financing already disbursed since March 2022, of which €562 million went to Poland, the EU country hosting the largest number of refugees from Ukraine.
The EU has taken in some 6.2 million refugees fleeing war in Ukraine, according to the Commission.
Some have returned to Ukraine...but the number of refugees is still very, very large and continues to increase
said European Commissioner Elisa Ferreira, in charge of cohesion and reforms, during a press conference.
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The Commission provides in particular that at least 30% of the funds thus mobilized should be allocated "
to operations managed by local authorities and civil society organizations working with local communities so that those who bear the brunt of the efforts benefit from 'adequate support
I have had numerous contacts with mayors of large and small towns, they tell me that they sometimes make most of the effort to provide accommodation, food, education to refugees and that they do not touch not always European money
", explained European Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, responsible for employment and social rights.
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Refugees from Ukraine can benefit from a temporary protection status in the EU, renewable for one year, which allows them to have access to housing, the labor market, social services and education.
The Commission also provides that expenditure related to these migration issues “
may now be declared retroactively for reimbursement, even if the operation has already been completed
The EU executive's programme, dubbed "
", also tackles the problem of delays in the implementation of certain cohesion policy projects, due to price increases and shortages of materials. raw materials and labor.
Projects worth more than one million euros, for example in the construction sector, supported under the 2014-2020 programs but which could not be completed on time, will thus be able to continue to benefit from support under the 2021-2027 programmes.
These proposals will still have to be adopted by the European Parliament and the Member States.
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