Commission: €3.4 billion to help with Ukraine refugee crisis
The European Union will release in €3.4 billion in recovery funds to help countries absorb refugees from Ukraine fleeing the Russian invasion, the Commission said on Wednesday.
The money will fund investments in housing, education, health, employment and childcare as Europe deals with its biggest refugee crisis since World War II.
“This is an unprecedented, historical challenge. And Europe’s response has also been unprecedented,” Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas said, announcing the spending.
An estimated 3.5 million people have fled to the EU, the Commission estimates. The funds will chiefly help the EU countries neighboring Ukraine — Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia — that have taken in the most people.
The release, which still requires signoff from EU capitals, will be front-loaded and drawn from from this year’s €10 billion tranche of the REACT-EU recovery assistance program.
Beyond the funding, the Commission is also activating efforts to help newly arrived Ukrainians to integrate, for example by setting up Ukrainian-language resources for education and employment.
Schinas told reporters that the EU was also helping with healthcare. It is working with the World Health Organization to set up hubs that can identify Ukrainian patients and send them to available hospitals. Efforts to increase coronavirus vaccine uptake — which is low among Ukranians — were also underway and vaccine stockpiles were sufficient to inoculate the new arrivals.