Budget and legislative measures to support Civil Society actions for Ukrainian refugees’ integration

Eurochild member FONPC hosts a debate on EU funds to support Ukrainian refugees’ integration with EU and national policymakers and civil society at the European Parliament.

A Romanian case study

On 23 May 2023, Federatia ONG-urilor pentru Copil (FONPC), a national coalition of more than 100 NGOs in Romania working in child protection and Eurochild’s national partner network for Romania, organised a debate event at the European Parliament, hosted by MEP Victor Negrescu.

The debate sought to address key civil society concerns are considered in the operational guidelines for EU funds for 2021-2027, which are eligible for the Ukraine refugee response interventions in Member States. It drew on FONPC’s expertise and experience supporting the refugee response in Romania in the last 14 months and issued 7 recommendations for policymakers involved in EU funds:

  • EU funds for the Ukraine response should be easily accessible and less bureaucratic for NGOs to be able to access and continue responding to the needs of refugees, with clear information available on financing instruments.
  • A financing mechanism dedicated solely for the Ukraine crisis that can be accessed in a more flexible and timely manner than usual EU funding, for both emergency and integration needs of refugees (i.e. ECHO humanitarian aid for non-member states).
  • Funding dedicated to the Ukraine refugee response should be new funding supplementing the EU budgets for social actions in Member states, not simply reallocate resources from other social segments.
  • A minimum funding % dedicated to CSOs in the 30% allocations for local interventions should be stipulated by EU management authorities as a pre-condition for any budget approvals.
  • Key programme interventions requiring complementary EU funding to National Social Services provided by Member States governments to Ukrainian refugees include integration in the education system and the labour market, improved access to healthcare, and sustainability of food and shelter programmes.
  • More transparency and clearer operational programmes & application guidelines for Ukraine crisis funding allocations.
  • Strengthen consultation with civil society on EU operational programmes & application guidelines & budgetary allocations.

These recommendations are strongly in line with what Eurochild members in 16 other countries also shared as part of Eurochild’s 2022 (In)visible Children report when it comes to the programming and accessibility of EU funds, which we shared with attendees as part of the debate.

FONPC’s recommendations also align well with new recommendations published by the EU’s Special Adviser for Ukraine Lodewijk Asscher in a new report on the integration of people fleeing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in the EU, published in June 2023.

In addition to Eurochild, the debate featured MEP Victor Negrescu and MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar, Director General Monique Pariat of the European Commission’s DG HOME, Romania’s Permanent Ambassador to the EU H.E. Iulia Matei, along with Secretaries of State for the Romanian Government for Health, Labor and Social Protection, and Ministry of European Investments and Projects. Speakers also intervened from Romanian civil society - FONPC, SERA, Terres des Hommes Romania, World Vision Romania, and the Romanian Pupil’s Association, and were joined international civil society partners ECRE and PICUM.

All contributors to the debate recognised the important role that local civil society organisations have played in supporting the refugee response in Romania.

This event was convened as part of the intervention “Help to Help Ukraine” being rolled out in Romania with funding and support from the global confederation CARE and local coordination by SERA Romania Foundation and FONPC. In the past year, the response provided humanitarian assistance to more than 80,000 beneficiaries in Romania, 3,500 in the Republic of Moldova and 66,000 in Ukraine (via cross-border humanitarian shipments).

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