The European Commission has announced that it has paid about €3.5 billion in advances to the Member States to help them manage the arrival of refugees from Ukraine.
In a statement issued yesterday, on April 28, the Commission stated that the payments were made in the framework of the EU Cohesion Action for Refugees in Europe, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
In this regard, the Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform, Elisa Ferreira, said that the EU stands by Ukraine and is in solidarity with it as well as with the Member States in their efforts to welcome all persons fleeing the war.
“Today, we see another concrete outcome of our solidarity with the mobilisation of cohesion funds to where these are more needed,” she also added.
In addition, the Commissioner for Labour and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, noted that all persons fleeing the war in Ukraine need immediate support to rebuild their lives.
According to him, the Member States can now secure food and shelter, health care, and education with these advance payments.
“Following the invasion by Russia on February 24, the Commission has mobilised every effort to support civilians fleeing from the war and help the Member States host and take care of them. In particular, it has introduced the possibility of flexibly mobilising the available resources from the cohesion policy within the 2014-2020 programs, the option for 100% co-financing, and has proposed increasing by €3.5 billion the pre-financing under REACT-EU,” the statement reads.
Moreover, the EU contribution will ease the additional burden on the public budgets of the Member States because the costs that can be covered are retroactively acceptable from the date of the occupation of Ukraine.
On April 4, the EU Council adopted some legislative amendments that enable member states to redirect resources from cohesion policy funds and the European Aids Fund for the Disadvantaged (FEAD) to assist Ukrainian refugees.
The Council has also explained that the 100 per cent extension of funding, the unblocking of unplanned cohesion funding 2014-2020, and the REACT-EU 2022 tranche are estimated to free up almost €17 billion combined.
On the other hand, the Member States will be able to use up to €9.5 billion under the 2022 REACT-EU tranche, which is one of the EU’s broadest public investment programs after the pandemic and unallocated cohesion policy for the budget period 2014-2020.
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