The European Commission (EC) said on April 1 that it had adopted a proposal for a Council Recommendation on the conversion of hryvnia banknotes into the currency of host EU countries by people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
“This proposal complements the humanitarian assistance provided by the EU to those fleeing from Ukraine, in particular as they travel across the Union, and it is fully consistent with the EU asylum acquis and with the Union’s external action,” the EC said.
The EC said that since the start of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine, more than 3.8 million people fleeing the war against Ukraine had arrived in the EU.
One of the immediate needs of refugees is to convert their hryvnia banknotes into the currency of their host country.
“Today’s proposal aims to promote a coordinated approach for all member states to offer those fleeing from Ukraine the same conditions for converting their hryvnia banknotes into local currency independently of the member state that hosts them,” the EC said.
This approach was necessary in light of the fact that the National Bank of Ukraine had to suspend the exchange of hryvnia banknotes into foreign cash in order to protect Ukraine’s limited foreign exchange reserves.
As a consequence, credit institutions in EU countries have been unwilling to carry out the exchanges due to the limited convertibility of hryvnia banknotes and exposure to exchange rate risk.
The EC said that some EU countries were considering putting in place national schemes that support the conversion of a limited amount of hryvnias per person, and the Commission’s aim is to promote a consistent approach to such schemes.
The schemes should provide for maximum limits of 10 000 hryvnias per person, without charges, at the official exchange rate as published by the National Bank of Ukraine.
The duration of the schemes should be for a minimum of three months, the EC said.
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