The EU prepares for a protracted refugee crisis that could displace 10 million people Listen to this article

A blitzkrieg was envisaged, not an indefinite abandonment. But a month after the illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine, the situation appears to be stretching with time. With Moscow stuck on various fronts, thanks largely to resistance from Ukrainian forces, the EU fears the conflict could drag on for months or years, forcing a humanitarian crisis beyond expectations. Twenty-seven, who already have 17,000 million euros at their disposal provided by the Commission and with the support of the International Security Directive – approved for the first time in EU history to deal with emergencies – are now seeking financial solutions. and solidarity delivery mechanisms to provide a long-term response for refugees.

The war in Ukraine has already caused the largest exodus in Europe since World War II, with 3.8 million people crossing their country’s borders to seek refuge in the European Union. According to community sources citing UN figures, this number could rise to eight or 10 million in the coming months. “You have to prepare for something structural,” he warns.

“We do not know what the next step will be. [el presidente ruso, Vladímir] Putin. We have to be ready”, assured Ylva Johansson, the European Interior Commissioner in Brussels this Monday, in an appearance after an extraordinary meeting of EU interior ministers, convened to respond to the humanitarian emergency. Johansson has urged “contingency plans in case the situation worsens”.

At the meeting, ministers approved a list of actions to reduce human drama. called for the creation of a single and centralized European platform for registering newcomers, to avoid duplication and calculation errors; It calls for coordinating transport and information between different community partners through neural points that refugees who wish to travel through the Schengen area can visit.

Member states have also agreed to create a sort of index of countries based on their reception and reception potential, in order to encourage the movement of Ukrainians towards them, putting pressure on the most saturated states. There are also plans for the implementation of a plan to combat human trafficking. According to the commission, even before the war, Ukraine was among the five countries with the highest movement of people in the European Union. And NGOs working on the ground have warned of possible situations of harassment by touts.

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welcome plan for kids

Twenty-seven also seeks a common and coordinated solution to welcoming children: children account for more than half of arrivals in the community area. There are so many, as commission vice-chairman Margaritis Schinas pointed out last week, that the annual number of births in Poland appears to have nearly tripled in a single month.

Despite the fact that the flow of arrivals has fallen – it has gone from 200,000 daily entries to nearly 40,000, according to data provided by the interior commissioner this Monday – European capitals on the front line fear that the pressure will come from them. There will be greater housing, social and health care capacity and access to education in the medium and long term. In Poland, the first recipient country, more than 2.2 million people have arrived in the past four weeks, according to the UNHCR. They are followed by Romania (about 600,000), Hungary (594,000) and Slovakia (275,000).

In the European Commission they also recognize that refugees have not been voluntarily redistributed by member states in the amounts required. This was Brussels’ initial bet: the Ukrainian people, not keeping movement restrictions in the Schengen zone, would move to different countries. But the majority have stayed at places of first reception, closer to their country of origin, to await a possible return.

According to community sources, Brussels has raised up to 17,000 million to deal with the emergency. The amount is a budgetary lace that draws, among others, structural funds from the 2014–2020 period, which have not yet been spent and from the React-EU initiative, to strengthen the welfare state, shield and reactivate services. Designed to help areas for Economy after the effects of the pandemic. The mechanism, without going into the details of the amount, was announced by the commission last week.

The community executive doesn’t rule out expanding the volume in the face of upcoming drama. At the European Council, held in Brussels this Thursday and Friday, heads of state and government called on the Community Executive to seek more resources, in line with the findings agreed during the summit. 27 “calls for the immediate completion of work on the Commission’s recent proposals to support Member States in order to expeditiously mobilize EU funding for refugees and those hosting them, and calls upon the Commission to support the EU’s be invited to work on other proposals to strengthen support”.

“It is clear that our resources and reception capacity will not be sufficient to deal with the increasing influx of people,” said a letter sent to the community executive jointly by Germany’s interior ministers, Nancy Feser and Poland’s Mariusz. Kaminsky, whose material EL PAÍS had access. “This is especially true in the longer term,” said the letter, written last Friday, and which was intended to mark the debate of interior ministers meeting this Monday to address the emergency .

According to the commission’s figures, about 1.5 lakh people have stayed in Poland. About 300,000 have already arrived in Germany in secondary movements from border countries. At least 30,000 have traveled to other countries such as France, according to data provided this Monday by the country’s interior minister (80% of them women). In the letter, Berlin and Warsaw called for financial plans from the commission that would give immediate relief to the most affected capitals, such as a contribution of 1,000 euros for each refugee welcomed in the first six months since the start of the war.

The text maintains that Poland is estimated to have spent 2,200 million euros so far in humanitarian aid to refugees. “Extraordinary events require extraordinary measures,” said the letter, which also called for strengthening “solidarity forums” to “facilitate the possibility for other member states to travel under safe conditions”. Is.

The letter follows a decolog approved by the interior ministers. While, at this time, the EU does not plan to activate any mandatory mechanisms for refugee quotas, the idea is to provide more information about countries with available reception capacity and the promotion of transport hubs with access to trains, buses. Along with encouraging their voluntary displacement. And even flights.

The response to the refugee crisis has marked a milestone in the European Union. Only a week after the start of the war, it became active for the first time, a regulation never used before, the International Security Directive, which allows an unlimited number of people fleeing a disaster to enter a community area. Ukrainians are entitled to their passports for a three-month stay in the European Union. However, this directive extends protection to one year, is automatically renewable twice for a period of six months, and allows access to housing, schools, health care and employment. So far, 800,000 people have requested protection of this directive, as Commissioner Johansson detailed in his appearance.

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