President of Warsaw in the European Parliament - discussion on the refugee crisis

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Sitting at the table and talking are: the President of Warsaw - Rafał Trzaskowski, Aldona Machnowska - Góra - Vice President of Warsaw and employees of Warsaw Information Centres for foreigners. In the background, behind the President, there is a screen on which the flag of Ukraine is visible, and on it a gesture of solidarity - a "V" made of two fingers, with the palm of the hand facing forward.
Author: Ewelina Lach

It has been 9 months since the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Today in the European Parliament, President Rafał Trzaskowski will talk about how Warsaw has coped with the war-induced refugee crisis and continues to do so. He will also talk about further needs and challenges for the city.

In the first weeks of the war in Ukraine, Warsaw welcomed 350,000 refugees from the eastern border;  the population of the capital has increased by almost 20 percent. Some Ukrainian citizens then went to other Member States; some returned to their homeland. Today, approximately 150 thousand refugees are registered in Warsaw, and 230 thousand in the entire agglomeration. Nearly 18 thousand children and young people from Ukraine are taught in schools and kindergartens in the capital, of which 14.5 thousand in urban institutions. In the last 9 months, 300 Ukrainian children have also been born in hospitals in Warsaw.

These figures indicate the enormity of the challenge the capital had to face. The city – without reducing the scope of services for the benefit of the current inhabitants – was also able to provide assistance to the influx of citizens of Ukraine. This was possible mainly thanks to the huge involvement of people of good will, supported by non-governmental organizations and the Warsaw local government. However, the coming winter and Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure mean that another significant wave of refugees arriving in Poland and other European countries cannot be ruled out. In order to meet this challenge again, systemic solutions and huge external support – also from the European Union - are needed. The existing international support for Warsaw from such entities as UNICEF, the International Organization for Migration, or Taiwan - may not be enough.

There is also a need for a system to support the voluntary movement of refugees between cities. Residents' commitment and hospitality are already stretched to the limits. Similarly to the organizational possibilities of cities, local governments do not want to choose between prioritizing the needs of refugees and the needs of their own residents.

These and other challenges – including the need for additional funds for cohesion policy or the need for greater flexibility in the implementation of projects in the EU perspective 2021-2027 – will be discussed by President Trzaskowski today.

The meeting within the framework of the joint committees on civil liberties, justice and home affairs (LIBE) and on budgetary control (CONT) opens at 10.30 a.m. It will be possible to follow them on the subpage of the European Parliament.