8th Feb 2023

EU index identifies Poland, Austria as needing refugee aid

  • Some 50,000 Ukrainians are fleeing the country on a daily basis, down from around 200,000 a few weeks ago, says the EU commission. (Photo: European Union, 2022)
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The European Commission is gauging the pressure on member states hosting refugees as tens of thousands of people continue to cross daily from Ukraine.

The plan is to use an index to help determine "fair burden-sharing" to manage the roughly 3.6 million refugees who have already settled throughout most EU states. Of those, more than 1.5 million are children.

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With many more set to come, the commission says there is a need to figure out how many are settling in each EU state, in case there is a need to shuffle aid to where it's needed most.

But the commission also wants to compare that to the number of asylum seekers each member state took over the course of the past year, before the war began, in what could potentially be a politically charged exercise given the wider backlash against migration in general.

EU home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson on Wednesday (23 March) said these figures are compared to a country's size in order to determine which EU states face the greatest challenges.

The commission's index shows Poland under greatest pressure, followed by Austria, Cyprus, Czech Republic and Estonia, she said.

This may come as a surprise to Romania, which is hosting 500,000 Ukrainians as well as Hungary and Slovakia with 324,000 and 256,000 Ukrainians respectively. Many may have since left for other EU states.

Johansson said the index and its further development will be discussed with EU states next week.

"I think it helps the discussion in each member state to compare a bit," she said.

EU states are also working together on how to help each other in case of need, she said, amid plans to mobilise billions of euros from the EU budget as further support.

Similar efforts are already being made for Europe's poorest nation, Moldova, which has received some 370,000 refugees. But so far, only 14,500 refugees of that number will be transferred, to seven EU states and Norway.

Some 50,000 Ukrainians are fleeing the country on a daily basis, down from around 200,000 a few weeks ago, says the EU commission.

They are free to move and settle wherever they want in the EU for up to three months.

But after three months, they will need to have an EU protection status, which gives them the right to reside, work and go to school up until next March. This can be extended, if needed.

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More than 50 percent of the 300,000 refugees that arrived in the Czech Republic are children, and 80 percent of all adult refugees are women. More is needed for employment for women and access to nurseries for children.

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