EU warns of ‘solidarity fatigue’ despite warm welcome to millions of Ukrainian refugees

BRUSSELS (AP) — Despite the warm welcome extended to millions of Ukrainian refugees in the European Union since the Russian invasion, EU officials said on Tuesday there were fears wavering support caused by a slowing economy that particularly affects poor families and the creeping influence of Russia. Propaganda.

EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson has stressed that support for the 4 million Ukrainian refugees being cared for in the bloc is steady, but a special report said ‘what we might call ‘solidarity fatigue’ is starting to take hold in some Member States”.

“The cost of living crisis has hit low and middle income families in host societies and created a context in which Russian propaganda could be more successful,” said the EU’s special adviser for Ukraine, Lodewijk Asscher, in the report.

Russian President Vladimir Putin “has a huge interest in influencing public opinion about the displaced people of Ukraine. The discourse on migrant refugees can be used as a weapon to sow division within the EU,” the Dutch politician said, adding that some of the 27 EU member states have already reported other disinformation campaigns targeting the question.

Contrary to the reluctance to welcome migrants from across the Mediterranean and from war zones in Africa and Asia, the welcome extended to Ukrainian refugees has been warm since the start of the war in February 2022, when millions of people began to flee to neighboring countries like Poland. , Slovakia, Romania and further afield in Germany.

Johansson said the biggest refugee movement in Europe since World War II sent 16 million people across the continent, after which around 11 million returned home and 1 million went further afield to places like Canada and Great Britain.

Within the EU, a directive on temporary protection has been issued to ensure that Ukrainians can seek shelter and receive assistance with as few conditions as possible. Member states have even started building temporary Ukrainian “villages” to help refugees better integrate into society.

But the report warns that refugees who are torn back and forth between their refuge and their beleaguered homes suffer trauma and loss, creating a “dilemma of waiting”.

This makes it “difficult to decide whether to start learning a new language, to embark on more serious training or education programs, or to integrate children into the education system of the host country,” Asscher said, adding that companies are also hesitant to invest in them. since they could disappear in the short term.

Overall, Asscher said, “Solidarity is alive and vibrant. But there is fatigue, especially among the most vulnerable refugees as well as the most vulnerable in host societies.

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