Bulgarian government grants more funding to assist Ukrainians who have temporary protection

In a series of decisions, Bulgaria’s Cabinet has granted more funding to assist Ukrainians who have temporary protection in Bulgaria.

The sum resulting from the decisions is not clear because in not all cases were the amounts stated.

In one decision, the Cabinet consented to the managing authority of the operational programme for food and basic material assistance concluding contracts of up to 3.93 per cent above its current budget.

The government media service said that this means that the programme would have an additional 11 million leva (about 5.62 million euro), which will come from the European Union’s REACT-EU  (Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe) programme for 2022.

The funding will be used to support Ukrainian citizens who have received temporary protection in Bulgaria, the government media service said.

“It is envisaged that by the end of 2022, about 50 000 vouchers for the purchase of food and basic necessities will be provided to them through the structures of the Social Assistance Agency,” the statement said.

The additional funds would also allow the extension of the “hot lunch” scheme up to July 31 2022.

Currently, 189 municipalities in Bulgaria provide soup, main course, bread and once a week dessert to more than 53 000 people in need.

Municipalities that do not currently have a contract under the programme will also be able to apply for the provision of the social service.

It is expected that in this way a hot lunch will be provided for an additional 20 000 people. Such a right will be given to Ukrainian citizens in need of support and who have the right to temporary protection, the statement said.

In a decision on May 27, the government assigned state railways BDZ Passenger Transport to provide free transport to Ukrainian citizens who have temporary protection, when they are relocated from hotels to designated settlements, the government information service said.

The Ukrainians will be transported by bus and rail.

The Cabinet has approved five million leva to be used from the Transport and Transport Infrastructure operational programme to meet the costs of resettlement of Ukrainians who have temporary protection.

A separate item on the Cabinet agenda said that the government had supplemented an earlier decision on funds to ensure cohesion action for refugees in Europe.

“The resettlement of migrants from Ukraine is one of the most urgent measures to tackle the refugee crisis caused by the Russian Federation’s military aggression against Ukraine and the ongoing military conflict,” the government information service said.

“At the same time, this measure generates significant costs, and by the end of June the total amount of these costs will exceed 70 million leva, with an additional 150 million leva by the end of the budget year.”

A further item said that the government had approved additional spending from the budgets of the Cabinet and the Health Ministry for 2022 for advance financing of expenditures for people seeking temporary protection in the Republic of Bulgaria as a result of hostilities in the Republic of Ukraine. The sum of this additional spending was not stated.

The Cabinet also adopted a draft decision on assistance from the humanitarian aid programme for people seeking temporary protection in Bulgaria as a result of the war in Ukraine, and approved additional spending by the Tourism Ministry on assistance for Ukrainians who have temporary protection.

Essentially, that means the funding for hotels participating in the system whereby they receive finance for hosting Ukrainian refugees.

The sum of the envisaged additional spending by the Tourism Ministry was not stated.

Separately, the municipal administration in Bulgaria’s Black Sea city of Varna said that, at the request of the Interior Ministry regional district in the city, it was banning parking in an area close to Varna railway station from May 29 to May 31 inclusive.

The ban was in connection with the transporting of Ukrainian citizens by bus from the resorts to Varna railway station, the municipality said.

(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)

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