English Section

Poland spends billions to support Ukraine war refugees, official says

04.01.2023 14:00
A Polish deputy interior minister has said that his country is spending billions to support war refugees from neighbouring Ukraine, but some of this money returns to the government through taxes.
Paweł Szefernaker.
Paweł Szefernaker.PAP/Rafał Guz

Speaking in a media interview on Wednesday, Paweł Szefernaker said that Poland's spending on support for refugees from Ukraine reached some PLN 12 billion (EUR 2.6 billion) last year.

He added that "some of this amount is returning to the state budget in the form of taxes," Polish state news agency PAP reported.

Szefernaker told private broadcaster RMF FM: “When it comes to refugee support, the total figure so far is more or less as we had planned. The refugee support law foresaw PLN 8 billion (EUR 1.7 billion) in spending during the first six months and this is indeed the sum that was spent in that period.”

PLN 12 bn spent on refugee support, 500,000 refugees with jobs

He added: “Since the war broke out nearly a year ago, Poland’s spending on refugee support has totalled some PLN 12 billion (EUR 2.6 billion), but part of this money has returned to the state budget in the form of taxes.”

Szefernaker, who is the Polish government’s commissioner for refugees from Ukraine, added that refugee support included benefits for people who welcomed refugees into their homes, as well as funding for nonprofits and local governments.

He told RMF FM that “half a million refugees from Ukraine have taken up employment" in Poland.

"In addition, some 10,000 Ukrainian companies have been established," he said. "These people pay taxes in Poland and contribute to our GDP.”

Refugees to pick up some costs

Szefernaker also said in the interview that Polish MPs last month voted to tweak some refugee support rules. 

Under the proposed changes, refugees staying at reception centres will be asked to cover part of accommodation costs, officials said.

“This change is designed to mobilise refugees to become active on the labour market and to encourage them to achieve independence,” Szefernaker said.

The new co-payment rules will not apply to vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities, children and pregnant women, the PAP news agency reported.

Poland’s upper house is set to process the proposed amendment later this month, according to officials. 

Poland home to 'more than 1 million refugees from Ukraine'

In late December, Szefernaker said in a TV interview that “more than 1 million refugees from Ukraine have settled permanently in Poland.”

He added that "several million others" had also fled to Poland, but have since returned to their homeland or moved on to Western Europe, the PAP news agency reported.     

Wednesday is day 315 of Russia’s war on Ukraine.


Source: PAP, tvpparlament.pl