"We must prevent ourselves from getting dragged into a conflict of war, and we must say 'no' to proposals that may lead to an air war with Russia," Orbán said ahead of an EU and NATO summit. Continue reading
The Council of the European Union has approved an amendment to the law that will allow EU member states to receive a total of 3.5 billion euros (about 1,300 billion forints) more this year to facilitate the reception of refugees from the war against Russia, the EU Council announced Tuesday.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
“In order to facilitate the reception by the Member States of people fleeing Ukraine due to Russian aggression, the Council adopted today a legal act. This will provide additional funds totaling €3.5 billion, in line with the number of refugees received from Ukraine this year,” reads the European Union communication on Tuesday. It is stressed that this act introduces amendments to increase the advance payment under the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU). As one of the most important recovery programs, REACT-EU was launched in the wake of the pandemic to increase the Cohesion Policy Funds and the European Aid Fund for the Most Deprived (FEAD).
The measure aims to support the Member States that receive and house war refugees on their territory. It will allow access to EU funds for infrastructure, housing, equipment, employment, education, social inclusion, health, and childcare more quickly. The additional support will be made available to the member states depending on the number of refugees arriving and hosted from Ukraine.
According to the council statement, the decision introduces changes to increase pre-financing from the Cohesion Fund and the Fund to support the reconstruction of European territories (REACT-EU).
The pre-financing rate from EU funds planned for 2022 will be increased from 11 percent to 15 percent for all member states. And for those member states where the number of refugees from Ukraine exceeded one percent of the population at the end of the first month after the start of the war, the pre-financing rate will be increased from 11 to 45 percent.
In addition, the legislation introduces a cost per person, which will facilitate resource mobilization. This will allow member states to provide basic assistance to meet the basic needs of people displaced from Ukraine. The amendments aim to reduce pressure on member states’ budgets to better manage the influx of refugees from Ukraine.
According to earlier information from the European Commission, the pre-financing for Hungary amounts to about 300 million euros, or about 100 billion forints.
These changes are intended to ease the burden on member states whose public budgets are under pressure so that they can better manage this influx of refugees.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán personally asked the European Commission, specifically Ursula von der Leyen, as late as the end of March in a letter, to disburse all EU funds allocated to the country, including a loan under the Reconstruction Fund, but he asked for this in order to deal with the Ukrainian refugee crisis. In this sense, Viktor Orbán’s letter achieved his goal of providing flexible EU funds as quickly as possible to the countries most affected by the Ukrainian refugee crisis, but it does not mean the money that was previously blocked for Hungary.
Source: European Council
Featured image via Zsolt Czeglédi/MTI