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News article1 April 2022Representation in Malta

Commission adopts proposal for conversion of hryvnia banknotes by people fleeing Ukraine

Ukraine Cash

Commission adopts proposal for conversion of hryvnia banknotes by people fleeing Ukraine 

The Commission adopted today its proposal for a Council Recommendation on the conversion of hryvnia banknotes into the currency of host Member States by persons fleeing the war in Ukraine. This proposal complements the humanitarian assistance provided by the EU to those fleeing from Ukraine, in particular as they travel across the Union, and it is fully consistent with the EU asylum acquis and with the Union's external action. Since the start of Russia's military invasion of Ukraine, over 3.8 million people fleeing the war against Ukraine have arrived in the European Union. The EU and its Member States have made considerable efforts to provide humanitarian assistance and temporary protection for these people, including access to the labour market, housing, medical assistance and education for children. One of the immediate needs of refugees is to convert their hryvnia banknotes into the currency of their host country. Today's proposal aims to promote a coordinated approach for all Member States to offer those fleeing from Ukraine the same conditions for converting their hryvnia banknotes into local currency independently of the Member State that hosts them. This approach was necessary in light of the fact that the National Bank of Ukraine had to suspend the exchange of hryvnia banknotes into foreign cash in order to protect Ukraine's limited foreign exchange reserves. As a consequence, credit institutions in EU Member States have been unwilling to carry out the exchanges due to the limited convertibility of hryvnia banknotes and exposure to exchange rate risk. Some Member States are considering putting in place national schemes that support the conversion of a limited amount of hryvnias per person, and the Commission's aim is to promote a consistent approach to such schemes. The schemes should provide for maximum limits of 10,000 hryvnias per person, without charges, at the official exchange rate as published by the National Bank of Ukraine. The duration of the schemes should be for a minimum of three months.  (For more information: Veerle Nuyts – Tel.: +32 229 96302; Andrea Masini – Tel.: +32 229 1519)

 

Ukraine: making it easier and quicker for Member States to use cohesion funding to support immediate needs of refugees 

To further support Member States welcoming and accommodating refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine, the Commission has proposed a simplified financing procedure under 2014-2020 cohesion policy to tackle the additional costs involved. The proposal introduces a new “simplified cost option”, to cover for immediate needs of refugees such as food, basic material assistance as well as accommodation and transportation costs. This proposal complements the additional flexibility already introduced by the Cohesion's Action for Refugees in Europeproposal and the increase by €3.4 billion of the pre-financing under the REACT-EU. This responds to  calls by the European Council and the European Parliament to work on additional proposals to reinforce EU support so as to ensure that EU funding for refugees and their hosts can be mobilised rapidly. Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, Elisa Ferreira, said: “Member States, regions, municipalities and NGOs have made enormous efforts over recent weeks to provide help and assistance to those fleeing Ukraine. The EU is looking at all possibilities to assist Member States in delivering this humane support as quickly and as effectively as possible. With this proposal, we are making the use of cohesion funds easier, reducing the administrative burden and facilitating the financing of refugee's basic needs.” Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit added: “People fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine need our support now, and the EU stands ready to help Member States. The European Social Fund is crucial in supporting refugees. With this proposal European funding can reach the Member States more quickly and with minimal administrative effort.” Member States will be able to benefit from a predefined amount per week for all those who have been granted temporary protection under the Temporary Protection Directive and are located in that Member State. This option can be used for a maximum of 13 weeks from the arrival of each person in the EU. Using simplified costs also means that Member States' human resources and administrative efforts can focus on delivering the support to those in need faster. This new proposal presents an additional amendment to the Common Provisions Regulation and requires approval by the co-legislators. Once adopted, Member States can use this new option immediately. More details on the EU support to Ukraine are available here(For more information: Stefan De Keersmaecker – Tel.: +32 229 84680; Veronica Favalli - Tel.: +32 229 87269; Veerle Nuyts - Tel.: +32 229 96302; Flora Matthaes - Tel.: +32 229 83951)

Details

Publication date
1 April 2022
Author
Representation in Malta