Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) The EU Council adopted amendments that make it possible for EU member states to redirect EU funds to assist Ukrainian refugees.
The move allows bloc members to reallocate EU funds from the Fund for European Aid for the Most Deprived and cohesion funds for aiding refugees, the Council pointed out in a statement on Monday.
“The swift amendment of the legislation on EU funds is a clear statement of the EU’s continued solidarity with the refugees from Ukraine and with the member states hosting them, in particular those sharing borders with Ukraine,” the body pointed out.
It stressed that the move is an important step in providing EU member states with enough resources to respond to growing needs of displaced Ukrainians.
“In addition, the changes include exceptional flexibility to transfer resources between programmes financed by the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund to address the inflow of refugees,” the Council pointed out.
EU funds earmarked for investments in infrastructure can be redirected towards education and healthcare of Ukrainian refugees, as can the funds intended for recovering from the coronavirus crisis, the statement notes.
New rules will help national and regional authorities to finance aid programmes and balance their budgets strained by influx of Ukrainian refugees, with the Council stressing that the start date for measures eligible for funding under the Cohesion Action for Refugees in Europe (CARE) is 24 February this year.
Additionally, the Council “adopted an amendment to the 2014-2020 home affairs funds and to the 2021-2027 asylum, migration and integration fund… this amendment will provide extra resources for the reception of persons escaping the war in Ukraine.”
The body pointed out that the move will enable EU member states to make use of unspent allocation and fund previously earmarked for other programmes.
It concluded that new rules allow national authorities and other public and private donors to make financial contributions, which will “make it possible to finance asylum and migration activities in member states during crises, including those arising from the invasion of Ukraine.”
New rules are to come into effect one day after publication in the Official Journal of the EU, with the Council concluding that this is expected in the coming days.