The difficulties in a hospitable Europe

Date:

The difficulties in a hospitable Europe

  • News by AUN News correspondent
  • Friday, October 14, 2022.
  • AUN News – ISSN: 2949-8090

Summary:

  • Because it is worried, Google has started a campaign to fight false information about Ukrainian refugees.
  • It’s no surprise that the EU and its member states can offer education to the 2 million young Ukrainians in Europe.
  • Poland and Germany also shed light on the labor market.
  • Roma refugees in Ukraine also experience severe discrimination.
  • The best way for Europe to assist refugees depends on who they are.
The United Nations reported that there were 7.6 million Ukrainian refugees in Europe as of October 2022, 2.85 million of whom were in Russia. Many of the latter were sent there by the Russian occupiers and were put through a “filtration” process where credible reports of war crimes, such as evidence of executions and torture, emerged. A total of 4.2 million Ukrainian refugees have signed up for national or the EU’s temporary protection plan. By June 2022, when the U.N. said that 6.9 million people were internally displaced, 3.1 million more people had gone back to Ukraine. 1 The total number of displaced Ukrainians is close to one-third. 13 million more people are stuck inside Ukraine due to war, blocked roads, or a lack of resources to travel. After first going to nearby Poland (5.4 million), Hungary (1.2 million), Romania (1 million), Slovakia (690,000), and Moldova, most refugees are now in wealthier EU countries (573,00). The top ten hosting nations are listed in Table 1.

Table 1 lists the top ten nations taking in Ukrainian refugees (excluding Russia)

Countries Ukrainian Refugees
Poland 1,422,482
Germany  997,895
Czechia 442,443
Italy 170,646
Spain 145,838
Turkey 145,000
United Kingdom 134,200
France 105,000
Austria 83,081
Netherlands 79,250

This influx was made easier by the EU’s temporary protection scheme for Ukrainians, which gives them the right to work, health care, education, a place to live, and financial help for up to three years. The Ukrainian diaspora in the EU, which numbers 1.4 million in Poland, 250,000 in Italy, and more elsewhere, was also beneficial.

Even though the world’s history shows that “refugees don’t stop coming back all at once,” the size, speed, and volume of the influx and the large number of people coming back are unprecedented. The significant number of returns results from a tranquil border region; the fact that many families have been split up because men between the ages of 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave Ukraine; and confidence in being let back into the EU. It also mattered that Ukraine’s opposition forced Russia to leave the areas around Kyiv and other cities.

When compared to asylum seekers from the Middle East, Africa, and Afghanistan, who have been pushed back violently from Poland to Italy to Greece and beyond, often with the help of the EU border agency Frontex, the EU has been much nicer to Ukrainians. Still, it’s been hard because refugee fatigue is slowly growing in Poland, Germany, the UK, and other places. Although it is not yet at a crisis point, it is a warning sign as a harsh winter beckons on the economic and energy fronts. Because it is worried, Google has started a campaign to fight false information about Ukrainian refugees.

The OECD says that Ukrainian refugees are easier to integrate

The OECD says that Ukrainian refugees are easier to integrate than other refugees because they have more education, already have social networks, and can find jobs easily. But because 90% of Ukrainian refugees are women and children, it is hard to help them with things like education, child care, and job opportunities, as well as emotional and psychological support, especially for young people. Other challenges include lost documentation, housing issues, and human trafficking.

It’s no surprise that the EU and its member states can offer education to the 2 million young Ukrainians in Europe. Some of the projects are the multilingual teaching materials made by the European Commission to help people in Sweden and Finland learn their native languages. Portugal, Lithuania, and Spain all have bilingual materials available in Portuguese and Ukrainian. There are immersion programs with language assistance in France and the UK. The 55 Ukrainian-language schools in Romania will now, when it is possible, accept refugee children. Summer camps have been conducted with Ukrainian groups in the EU, Moldova, and Turkey.

Children especially need emotional and psychological care

Children especially need emotional and psychological care to deal with the trauma of wartime violence and the confusion of being separated from loved ones. Austria has a program where children and parents of refugees can work with mobile intercultural teams and talk to psychologists. The Pharos program helps people with their social and emotional lives in the Netherlands. In Belgium, Denmark, France, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovakia, and Spain, adaptation classes help people with their mental health.

Poland has 300,000 school spots ready for the next school year. This shows that every country has problems, but placement is challenging, especially in big cities. This year, more Polish students are enrolling in high school because of changes that made more people eligible and made a record number of teaching jobs available. This is also an issue in Germany, where 150,000 Ukrainian children are enrolled in schools. After the mainly Syrian migration in 2015, there were also classes called “welcoming,” which were taught by refugees from Ukraine. Ukrainian kids can connect to their schools back home through the internet. This makes it easier for them to enroll in college, even though they have to deal with laws about mandatory schooling and online schooling. Some kids pay to go to both. There are psychologists on staff in schools.

Poland and Germany also shed light on the labor market

350,000 Ukrainian refugees are listed as seeking employment in Germany. Even though there are 900,000 open jobs, surveys show that up to 50% of Ukrainians have found work. The Federal Employment Agency reports a 10% rate. The mismatch between skill requirements and employment opportunities persists, endangering de-skilling and depression. German language proficiency is the biggest obstacle.

Additionally, employers seek long-term commitments. Most jobs include commerce, services, transportation, logistics, and health care. Many of these positions still necessitate professional qualification, though. Elder care is a simple alternative, but the compensation is poor, and the working circumstances are difficult.

Ukrainians are given a lot of help

Given Poland’s low unemployment rate of 2.7%, its aging population, and the EU-wide labor shortage, Ukrainians are welcome. With $3.4 billion in government funding and $2.1 billion from private sources, Ukrainians receive a lot of assistance, including childcare, language lessons, and other services. More than half of the 1.2 million Ukrainians with social security numbers have found jobs. The World Bank anticipates a medium-term effect on GDP growth of 1.5%. Yet again, language barriers and difficulties matching talents to employment can arise. Another 100,000 people were working as of August 2022 in Czechia, and 20,000 people were in Italy. The OECD says that 1,2 million Ukrainian immigrants will eventually start working in Europe, mainly in service jobs.

Another important event was the flight of working Ukrainian men from Europe, mostly Poles, who went back to Ukraine to fight or help their families. They mostly did jobs that didn’t require much training and couldn’t be done as quickly by Ukrainian refugees, who are mostly women and have a lot of college degrees. They must comply with EU laws restricting women’s physical labor.

Countries that let Ukrainians stay continue to turn away other asylum seekers

Even though Ukrainian refugees are treated well, this doesn’t mean that refugees from other countries will be treated the same way. States in the EU, like Poland, Hungary, and others, that let Ukrainians stay continue to turn away other asylum seekers. Roma refugees in Ukraine also experience severe discrimination. The Center for Global Development lists a number of lessons that can be learned from the Rohingya people being forced to move. These include getting involved locally; listening to refugees and host communities; building skills and the right to work; giving host countries ongoing international support; and more. Though they are not fresh, all the lessons are excellent. The best way for Europe to assist refugees depends on who they are. Until it changes, each new refugee crisis will likely worsen the tragedy of forced displacement.

As of September 2022, there have been 6.1 million comparable border crossings into Ukraine since February 28, 2022, and 11.9 million similar cross-border movements (not people, including non-Ukrainians and those with numerous crossings) from Ukraine to its neighbors.

Analysis by: Advocacy Unified Network

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