Europe is ‘troubled’ before the Russian conflict

Recently, Bulgaria said it would cut the daily allowance for refugees from Ukraine from about 22 USD/person to 8 USD/person. The question is where will the lives of those fleeing the Russian-Ukrainian conflict go, in the near future?

Europe ‘generous’ to refugees?

Bulgaria is a country that does not share a border with Ukraine, but many refugees flee there via neighboring northern Romania. They went to Bulgaria with the hope of staying close, being able to return to Ukraine as soon as possible when the hostilities ended.

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More than 7 million migrants have left Ukraine since Russia launched its military operation on February 24.

However, with the summer tourist season approaching and the Bulgarian Government cutting subsidies per refugee, displaced Ukrainians now face a difficult choice: Return home, find their own accommodation. or move to countries where accommodation can be provided.

“For the past three months we have provided unprecedented assistance in very nice hotels to Ukrainian refugees. Bulgaria cannot offer such a luxurious stay endlessly.”said Prime Minister Kiril Petkov.

More than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees, mostly women and children, have fled to Bulgaria since hostilities began. The Bulgarian government has arranged accommodation in resorts near the Black Sea for about 60,000 refugees.

Now, Bulgaria must change its approach to migrants, or rather, it is forced to implement policies towards migrants to ensure national economic interests.

Accordingly, in addition to reducing the subsidy amount, as of June 2, the Bulgarian government transferred about 3,000 refugees from “luxury” hotels to state-owned facilities, while 12,000 people Others were moved to smaller hotels.

Policy changes by the Bulgarian authorities are leaving Ukrainian refugees homeless. Zaitsev, 35, from Kremenchuk, central Ukraine, said she and many like her are relying on Bulgarian authorities for shelter, even if they don’t know where their next stop is.

“We’ve been checking email all day and waiting for information. I have a little money but not enough to support the kids. I’m worried about where we’ll be taken. I need daycare, school, conditions for the children to go to school and health care hospitals”, Zaitseva said.

Similar to Bulgaria, the situation of Ukrainian refugees in the Czech Republic is not much better. The burden from migrants forced the country to cut support. Accordingly, the Czech Republic will no longer pay the benefit of $217 per month per Ukrainian and is encouraging Ukrainian refugees to find work or risk losing their benefits.

The Russia-Ukraine conflict is creating Europe’s worst refugee crisis since World War II, as more than 7 million people have been displaced from Ukraine since Russia launched a military operation on 24th. /2. The destinations of Ukrainian refugees are neighboring countries, but the most are Poland (more than 3.5 million), Romania (about 1 million), Russia (about 900,000), Hungary (more than 600,000), Moldova (nearly 500,000). ), Slovakia (nearly 450,000), Belarus (30,000).

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently said that after going to frontline countries bordering the border, a number of Ukrainians will then go to other countries in Europe such as Germany, France, and the West. Spain…

Just a month after the Russian-Ukrainian conflict broke out, 2 million Ukrainians poured into Poland. This number increased to 3 million in the second month. About 80% of Ukrainian refugees now live in Polish homes. Although the Polish government has taken some measures to limit and control the flow of migrants, Ukrainians continue to pour into the country.

Despite being a member of the European Union (EU), for different historical reasons, the economies of these countries are still below the EU average. This makes it very difficult for them to receive, accommodate and resettle refugees.

The influx of migrants presents the EU with a serious challenge. In addition to food problems, the number of Ukrainian refugees also brings a burden to European countries in terms of medical care, employment, children’s education and illegal stay.

Managing Ukrainian refugees is a headache for Romanian authorities. Many public places such as the main train station in the capital Bucharest have been converted into centers for refugees. It even adjusted the law so that all Ukrainian refugee children can have the same rights as Romanian children.

The Romanian government is estimated to have spent nearly 72 million euros in emergency assistance since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. But officials admit it is difficult to cope with a migrant crisis for a long time without financial support from abroad.

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Inflation spiked in the euro area due to the crisis from the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

European Commission Vice President Margaritis Schinas recently said that, in the face of a large influx of Ukrainian refugees, accommodation for temporary resettlement provided by governments and non-governmental organizations in other countries. EU members are overloaded.

According to Brussels-based research institute Bruegel (Belgium), the resettlement of Ukrainian refugees will cost at least 43 billion euros, equivalent to a quarter of the EU’s total projected expenditure in 2022. This number will not stop there, but will increase if tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue. This is a big challenge for the EU, especially when the region is still under pressure from waves of migration from the Middle East and Africa.

A series of ‘difficult to solve’ problems

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that European countries were in a state of “panic” over the influx of refugees from Ukraine. But that is only the tip of the iceberg for the EU’s current crisis. This alliance is facing a series of dilemmas from the Russia-Ukraine war.

Disagreement and division are words that the media repeats many times when referring to the current internal EU. The “off-topic” and different views of the member countries make it take nearly 2 months to discuss the 6th package of sanctions against Russia.

It is Moscow’s dependence on oil and gas that is the main reason why EU member states do not have the same rhythm and voice in sanctions policy towards Russia.

Despite the agreement to ban Russian oil by sea, the EU’s sanctions on Moscow oil are not adequate because countries rely heavily on energy sources from Russia. In particular, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Bulgaria, repeatedly expressed their opposition to the ban. The Hungarian government says the embargo against Russia will deal a huge blow to the country’s economy.

So far, the EU has issued six sanctions packages to Russia, but there is no embargo on Moscow’s gas. The European economy is forecasted to face difficulties without imported energy sources from Russia. The EU imports about 45% of gas, 25% of oil and 45% of coal from Russia. That forces the EU leaders to weigh more when calculating the next sanctions against Russia.

EU member states have acknowledged that the EU’s next round of sanctions against Russia will not include a gas ban. The EU understands that “Russian oil is much easier to replace…, while gas is a completely different story.” alternative supply is much more difficult.

The EU is gradually getting hit from the consequences of sanctions against Moscow. Imposing a new ban on Russia will be very difficult, because EU citizens are the victims who suffer the consequences, being heavily influenced by their country’s policies.

The EU is divided over steps to end dependence on Russian energy. But that is not all, Europeans are struggling with inflation, energy and food prices skyrocketing after sanctions against Russia.

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European countries are gradually receiving blows from the consequences of the Russia-Ukaine conflict.

Inflation in the eurozone has worsened in recent months, especially in food and energy costs. Accordingly, the inflation rate in this region stood at 8.1% in May, up from April’s record high of 7.4%. This rate marks a record high for the seventh consecutive month.

The common point of inflation in European countries, whether inside or outside the EU, is due to rising energy prices – a consequence of the Russia-Ukraine conflict. According to observers, the EU’s ban on Russian oil will push oil prices higher, contributing to the bloc’s inflationary pressure. Energy prices have already risen as demand recovers from the pandemic COVID-19 and will increase sharply after the EU oil ban.

Although the end of the Russian-Ukrainian war has not yet been answered, this conflict is fundamentally changing the security situation in Europe. This is reflected in the fact that Sweden and Finland officially broke the neutral status that has existed for many years in these countries after applying to join NATO on May 15.

Sweden and Finland’s desire to join NATO is understandable because the two Nordic countries’ biggest common concerns are now none other than security. They want to find a security umbrella in the face of a highly volatile international environment, especially when witnessing what is happening in Ukraine.

It is unlikely that what is happening in Ukraine will not repeat itself in either Sweden or Finland. Fearing that the war in Ukraine would set a dangerous precedent that could be repeated in the future, Sweden and Finland may find themselves in a similar situation.

The position of Sweden and Finland becomes more fragile than that of the Baltic countries that are members of NATO when they do not receive security protection from this powerful military alliance.

However, the prospect of these two countries becoming NATO members could upset Russia. At that time, tensions will escalate, the risk of direct confrontation between NATO and Russia is increasing. That would plunge Europe into a spiral of security instability.

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