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War in Ukraine. “We have not received support from the EU to help refugees”? It’s not true

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Szczecin PiS councilor Dariusz Matecki wrote on Twitter that Poland did not receive support from the European Union to help refugees from Ukraine. His entry was retweeted by Deputy Minister of Justice Sebastian Kaleta. However, Poland received support from the EU, although according to the Polish government it is not enough.

“We have not received support from the EU to help refugees from war-torn Ukraine. We are to pay the EU PLN 90,000 for each unaccepted economic migrant from African countries,” Dariusz Matecki, PiS councilor from Szczecin, leader of Sovereign Poland in Western Pomerania, wrote on Twitter on June 8. With this post, he referred to the negotiating position adopted on June 8 by the EU interior ministers. It is about accepting migrants under the relocation system. Countries that decide not to adopt them would pay 20,000. euros per person. In the vote of the ministers, Poland and Hungary were against. The position will only be the basis for negotiations between the Council Presidency and the European Parliament.

Dariusz Matecki is misleading when he writes that Poland did not receive support from the EU to help refugees from Ukraine, and the deputy minister of justice shares a tweetTwitter

Dariusz Matecki’s tweet was liked by nearly 600 users, almost 150 shared it – including Deputy Minister of Justice Sebastian Kaleta. “They want to starve us financially”; “Polexit” – commented Internet users. Others pointed out that the information about the lack of support from the European Union is untrue. “The EU has allocated 700 million for Poland to help Ukrainians,” noted Dominika Długosz, a journalist from “Newsweek Polska”. “250 zlotys per refugee. Yes, that’s nothing” – replied Dariusz Matecki.

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At least PLN 900 million to help refugees from Ukraine

October 19 2022, the Ministry of the Interior and Administration informed on its website about approximately PLN 695 million (EUR 144.6 million) of support for Poland to help refugees from Ukraine. “Thanks to the grant agreements signed by the Ministry of the Interior and Administration with the European Commission, Poland received a total of nearly PLN 700 million to support activities related to the mass influx of people fleeing the war in Ukraine. This is the first tranche granted to Poland. The Ministry of Interior and Administration has already applied for further funds in in the amount of over PLN 200 million” – we read at the beginning of the text.

PLN 329 million (EUR 68.4 million) of this amount are funds transferred under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund 2021-2027 (AMIF). Over PLN 366 million (EUR 76.2 million) was transferred under the Integrated Border Management Fund 2021-2027 (IZGW). “The European Commission did not indicate specific actions eligible for financing, leaving this decision to the state concerned. The funds granted are a refund of part of the costs incurred by Poland” – informed the Ministry of the Interior and Administration. The funds were transferred on August 26, 2022.

And at the end of February 2023, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Paweł Szefernaker appeared on Radio Zet informed Poland received a total of PLN 900 million from the European Commission to help refugees. IN In March, Konkret24 obtained information from Brussels that additional funds were transferred in December 2022. It was EUR 55.5 million under the AMIF.

In the light of the above information, the statement: “We have not received support from the EU to help refugees from war-torn Ukraine” is untrue.

The Polish government supports the creation of a special fund in the EU

Councilor Matecki defended himself against criticism from Internet users, arguing that the money provided by the EU was insufficient. In the aforementioned interview for Radio Zet from February this year, the deputy head of the Ministry of the Interior and Administration, Paweł Szefernaker, emphasized that the real help provided to refugees from Ukraine will still need to be assessed. He noted that the so-called The Aid Act provided for spending several billion zlotys on humanitarian aid. In July 2022, the Polish Economic Institute estimated public expenditures on helping refugees amount to approx. PLN 15.9 billion, and the value of private aid – about PLN 10 billion. Minister Szefernaker emphasized that 80 percent of adult refugees have found employment in Poland, pay taxes and work “also for Polish economic success”.

“As far as the European Union is concerned, we have said from the beginning that there should be an additional fund for refugees. It has not been created” – said Szefernaker (quoted by PAP). “This is a drop in the ocean of needs. We believe that these should be more funds” – he said. Poland actually urged the creation of such a fund, and politicians from the United Right camp drew attention to insufficient aid from Brussels. Interestingly, in April 2022 in an interview for the portal Poland Times (currently i.pl) Jarosław Kaczyński, the president of Law and Justice, argued that Poland “does not ask for it” when it comes to refugees. The terms of Poland’s negotiations with Brussels on aid for refugees were discussed by the website OKO.press in September 2022.

In April 2022, the “Stand Up For Ukraine” campaign, co-organized by the European Commission, raised EUR 9.1 billion. 1 billion was provided by the EC itself, of which 400 million came from the aforementioned FAMi and IZGW funds. Thanks to this initiative, Poland received a total of EUR 200.1 million, i.e. about PLN 900 million. Moreover, the European Union extended the period of implementation of three funds in the area of ​​home affairs for 2014-2020 by one year and argued that aid to refugees could also be financed from them.

Author:Krzysztof Jablonowski

Main photo source: Marcin Bielecki/PAP

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