BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Commission on Wednesday will set out plans to ensure people fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have access to jobs, education and housing after an unprecedented flow of refugees into the European Union.
“Nearly 3.4 people, overwhelmingly women and children, have already arrived in the EU after fleeing Ukraine. Both the scale and speed are unprecedented, with a child arriving in the EU every second on average,” Commission Vice-President Maros Sefcovic told a news conference on Tuesday.
The bloc’s initial actions have focused on receiving Ukrainians at the border, with reinforced staffing of border agency Frontex, Europol and the EU asylum agency.
“Now we must ensure that the right resources are in place to meet their needs,” Sefcovic said after a meeting of European affairs ministers in Brussels.
The Commission will detail on Wednesday a series of actions, he said, to ensure access to education, jobs, healthcare and housing, “with a particular focus on children.”
The European Union has granted “temporary protection” to people who were permanent residents of Ukraine, giving them such things as rights to residency, access to the labour market, social welfare and medical care.
Sefcovic said EU countries would also be able to access up to 10 billion euros ($11.0 billion) of an existing crisis response fund to help them support displaced people.
($1 = 0.9064 euros)
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; Editing by Mark Porter)