Ukraine: Cohesion policy increases support to address the effects of Russian aggression in Ukraine with “flexible assistance to territories” – Regional policy

This is a new comprehensive package that extends the support already provided under the European Refugee Cohesion Policy (CARE) by providing more resources and more flexibility for cohesion policy funding.

CARE has mobilized investment in housing, health care, translation services or training for IDPs and the host countries. However, as needs continue to grow, the European Council, the European Parliament and the regions of the European Union have called on the Commission to present new initiatives within the multiannual financial framework to support Member States’ efforts in this area.

The FAST-CARE package responds to these requests by providing additional flexibility for the implementation of cohesion policy investments. It also addresses the delay in the implementation of EU-funded projects due to the combined impact of the COVID-19 crisis and the high energy costs, raw material and staff shortages caused by the war.

The package introduces three changes in cohesion legislation for 2014-2020 and 2021-2027 to further support Member States’ support for the integration of third-country nationals; speed up and simplify while continuing to help regions recover from the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • More support for those who are internally displaced: Member States, local authorities and civil society
    • That pre-financing increased by another 3.5 billion euros to be paid in 2022 and 2023, which will quickly provide all Member States with additional liquidity. This is in addition to the 3.5 billion euros in pre-financing already paid under the React-EU since March 2022.
    • The opportunity to apply for one for the period 2014-2020 100% EU co-financing to apply is now big to priorities for promoting the socio-economic integration of third-country nationals. This option will also be extended to programs for 2021-2027, at least until mid-2024.
    • The Member States can do that increase the size of the simplified unit costs to cover the basic needs of refugees from 40 euros (the amount determined by CARE) to 100 euros per week per. person† They can declare these costs for a maximum period of 26 instead of 13 weeks, as is currently the case. This further simplifies the use of resources for displaced persons.
    • They already commanded in connection with CARE possibility of cross-subsidization between the European Regional Development Fund and the European Social Fund (ESF) is extended to the Cohesion Fund. This means that the Cohesion Fund can now also release resources to deal with the consequences of migration problems.
  • Make sure investments end up where they are needed
    • At least 30% of the resources which is freed up by the flexibility offeredshould be allocated to operations managed by local authorities and civil society organizations active in local communitiesso that those who make the greatest effort receive appropriate support.
    • Expenses for concrete measures to tackle migration problems, with retroactive effect is reimbursed even if the action has already been completed.
    • Concrete actions that is outside the geographic area of ​​the programmay still be covered by programs in the Member State supported† This makes it possible to channel aid where it is most needed, as refugees often move within the Member States.
  • Practical support for solving the problem of project delays
    • Projects worth more than DKK 1 million EUR (eg in the construction sector), which is supported under the 2014-2020 programs, but which could not be completed on time due to price increases and shortages of raw materials and labor. continue to be supported under 2021-2027 programs
    • More flexibility for Member States to maximize the amount of resources they can obtain at the end of programs, even when implementation has been delayed.

Some reactions from members of the Commission:

Valdis Dombrovskisexecutive vice president of an economy working for the people:The EU is in full solidarity with Ukraine against Russia’s brutal aggression. EU Member States have welcomed millions of Ukrainians fleeing this war, but are also dealing with its economic consequences, such as additional costs and difficulties in the supply chain. Today’s proposal has an important humanitarian and economic goal: to increase EU support for displaced persons from Ukraine and to simplify the work of Member States in implementing key EU-funded projects, which are now likely to be delayed. We will do this by making EU cohesion policy rules simpler and more flexible in accordance with the principles of sound financial management and our Green Deal objectives. “

Elisa FerreiraEU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform: ‘The consequences of Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified invasion of Ukraine are steadily increasing. Since its inception, cohesion policy has provided a comprehensive and pragmatic response to the various challenges facing Member States, regional and local authorities. Today, with our FAST-CARE proposal, we are strengthening our assistance by proposing additional flexibility and cohesion policy resources to integrate third-country nationals and support those providing direct assistance. These proposals will also help mitigate the negative impact of both the COVID-19 crisis and the war on program implementation. “

Nicolas schmitCommissioner for Employment and Social Rights, added: “The EU has so far welcomed more than 6.2 million people who have fled Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Member States’ authorities and civil society organizations are doing an excellent job in very difficult circumstances providing food, shelter, education, counseling and employment. to the people who arrive. The FAST-CARE package is a concrete way of showing further solidarity to all Member States with the tools and resources at our disposal. “

Next step

The proposed amendments to the Common Provisions Regulation 2014-2020 and the Common Provisions Regulation 2021-2027 must be approved by the European Parliament and the Council.

Background

The EU continues to support Ukraine in the face of unprovoked and unjustified military aggression by Russia. It also supports Member States’ efforts to receive refugees from Ukraine.

CARE offers Member States a high degree of flexibility to use the funds available from the Cohesion Policy for the period 2014-2020 and from the European Assistance Fund to the most disadvantaged to support people fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine and fundamental material assistance, such as food and clothing.

In addition, the Commission has paid 3.5 billion. EUR in pre-financing under React-EU and further simplified the mobilization of resources by introducing unit costs per . In addition, € 10 billion allocated to React-EU for 2022 can be used immediately to meet these new needs.

Today’s bill further extends the Commission’s support to stakeholders. These optimize the efficient use of resources and meet the additional needs of Member States and regional and local authorities as a result of the war in Ukraine.

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