EU Council approves immediate disbursement of €3.5 billion to EU countries welcoming Ukraine refugees

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Refugees crossing into Poland, 7 March 2022

BRUSSELS, Belgium – As part of the EU’s efforts to support Ukraine after Russia’s invasion, EU ambassadors today endorsed a proposal giving member states immediate access to more initial funding from REACT-EU (Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe), as well as facilitating the provision of basic needs and support for refugees from Ukraine.

A total of €3.5 billion will be paid out this year as increased initial pre-financing under REACT-EU, one of the largest post-pandemic recovery programmes aimed at reinforcing cohesion policy funds and the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived (FEAD).

Member states with higher numbers of arrivals, as either transit countries or countries of final destination, will receive a larger share.

The proposal makes it possible to alleviate the pressure on the public budgets of member states, so that they can deal with the inflow of refugees from Ukraine.

To this end, the pre-financing from the 2021 tranche of REACT-EU will be increased from 11 to 15 percent for all member states, and from 11 to 45 percent for those EU countries where the inflow of refugees from Ukraine amounted to over 1% of their populations at the end of the first month following the Russian invasion.

The countries which will receive 45 percent pre-financing are Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, which share a border with Ukraine, as well as Austria, Bulgaria, Czechia, Estonia and Lithuania, which had accommodated a number of displaced persons equivalent to over 1 percent of their populations by 23 March 2022.

In addition, the proposal introduces a unit cost per person, thereby enabling easier and swifter implementation of the funds.

Above all, the unit cost will facilitate the financing of essential needs for people from Ukraine granted temporary protection by the EU or other adequate protection under national law.

That unit cost is set at €40 per week and can be used for a maximum of 13 weeks, starting from the date on which the person concerned arrives in the European Union.

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