More EU Money Needed to Tackle Czech Refugee Crisis

The Czech Republic and eight other countries most affected by the refugee crisis will apply for EU financial assistance to ensure the effective use of existing and additional EU resources.

The countries will submit a proposal with 14 measures by the end of April, the regional development ministry wrote in a press release published Thursday (21 April). The proposal was prepared jointly by the Visegrad Four, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Hungary, as well as Bulgaria, Romania, and the Baltic states, Regional Development Minister Ivan Bartoš (Pirates) said.

“In a joint letter from the ministers of these nine countries, we will call on the European Commission to extend the time for completion of projects, i.e. to allow beneficiaries to reimburse eligible expenditure up to a year later, and to loosen more the partial rules in the ending programming period,” Bartoš said.

Another demand aims for swift approval of programs in the new 2021–2027 programming period so that projects helping refugees can be reimbursed as soon as possible.

Bartoš said the impact of the refugee crisis on individual EU countries varies, but mutual solidarity between all countries is needed to take care of refugees and support the development and improve the quality of life of citizens in each region.

The minister also pointed to problems in the construction sector, where some essential materials are missing, and companies face a shortage of workers. Many Ukrainians have left work to defend their homeland.

The Czech government has estimated the cost of coping with the refugee wave from Ukraine at €2.2 billion and plans to raise part of the money from the EU.

Around 300,000 Ukrainians have arrived in the Czech Republic since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February, some 186,000 of them have already been registered.

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