Poland asks EU for billions to manage Ukrainian refugees
Poland has requested €2.2 billion from the EU to cover the costs associated with the Ukrainian refugees, the country’s deputy interior minister, Blazej Pobozy, has revealed.
Speaking to the TVP Info broadcaster, Pobozy explained that, with such an influx of refugees, the costs are huge and are expected to rise even more.
“We calculate the costs at around a thousand euros per person for the first six months. At this moment, the needs which we reported to the European Commission have amounted to 2 billion 200 million euros,” the official said.
He added that Poland is not only “a spokesman” for the Ukrainians in Europe but also a country helping the refugees “here and now,” and thus it has all the grounds to apply for funds from the EU.” According to Pobozy, only 16 million euros have been allocated for his ministry so far to deal with the crisis, which was obviously not enough.
“So far, Poland has not received any money for refugees from the European Commission,” he said.
The deputy minister believes, however, that eventually his country will receive the requested funds. He emphasized, however, that if Poland waited for money to arrive before providing help to the refugees, there would by now be “a gigantic humanitarian catastrophe.”
According to the latest data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the total number of refugees having fled Ukraine since the launch of Russia’s attack on February 24 exceeds 4 million. More than 2.3 million are now in Poland.
Russia attacked its neighbor in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.