Poland needs more funds to help refugees from Ukraine

by Cristian Florescu

Poland needs immediate and additional EU funding to provide assistance to refugees from Ukraine, Poland’s deputy interior minister said, writes The First News

For weeks, Polish diplomats in Brussels have been appealing to the European Commission for financial support for refugees.

The European Commission (EC) has no plans to create any new funding sources to support EU countries accepting refugees. It has, however, proposed a transfer of funds to member states from those previously allocated in the EU budget.

Paweł Szefernaker, a deputy interior minister, told a press conference on Wednesday that he had recently spoken with local government officials about the EC’s proposals: “They are unacceptable when they refer to a transfer of funds,” he said. “We need additional funds to help refugees.”

He pointed out that the Polish government had not transferred funds from, for example, healthcare or education to help refugees from Ukraine, but had created an additional source of funding at the National Development Bank.

“These are additional measures to assist refugees and the same procedure must be followed in the EU,” said Szefernaker.

The deputy minister also noted that during the migration crisis in 2015 and 2016, EUR 6 billion was found for Turkey.

“Today, we need these additional funds, not for Poland, but simply to help Ukraine,” he said. “We are not applying for these funds in two, three or four months, but now.”

He also emphasised that Poland had helped refugees immediately, and not waited for EU funds to arrive.

“We, the Polish nation, are providing help from the very first hours of the aggression,” said Szefernaker. “Had we waited for European funds, we, today, would have a humanitarian crisis of great proportions on the border with Ukraine.”

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