France has spent nearly half a billion euros to welcome Ukrainian refugees
Posted 23 Feb. 2023 at 7:57 Welcome, whatever it takes. From the first days of…
Posted 23 Feb. 2023 at 7:57
Welcome, whatever it takes. From the first days of the war in Ukraine which generated the largest refugee movement in Europe since the Second World War, France has opened its doors to people fleeing the conflict. France has taken in some 100,000 displaced people – out of the eight million Ukrainian refugees registered in Europe, including more than a million in Germany – and spent more than 490 million euros to offer them an “unprecedented reception scheme”, indicates the French Ministry of the Interior this Thursday, on the eve of the first anniversary of the conflict.
In detail, nearly 220 million euros have been spent “under the allowance for beneficiaries of temporary protection”, granted everywhere in Europe to Ukrainians. The latter were thus able to benefit from the allowance for asylum seekers (ADA) even if they are exempted from applying for refugee status.
Around 260 million were also spent “for accommodation” and 10.1 million “for day care and transport”, detailed the Ministry of the Interior. In addition, while around 30,000 displaced Ukrainians have been housed with citizens, nearly 900 French households have received financial support “for an amount of 786,285 euros”, specified the Ministry of Housing.
Over 80% women
Accommodation therefore represented half of the cost of hosting Ukrainian refugees. It took the form of the requisition of hotels and holiday centers, but also of the mobilization of emergency accommodation places – 30,000 at the height of the crisis in March and April 2022 – or even the setting up place of reception “airlock” everywhere in France. Among the more than 100,000 people hosted in these accommodations between March 10, 2022 and January 30, 2023, nearly 80% were women, said the Ministry of the Interior.
“Provisional residence permits” (APS) were issued to 87,928 Ukrainian refugees (excluding children) over this period, the ministry said. These residence permits, valid for six months renewable, enabled them to settle in France in a regular situation, while benefiting from a series of social rights: access to work, health services, schooling for children, emergency accommodation, housing assistance, etc.
“What we have done for the Ukrainians can serve as a model”
This reception system was designed not to “impact common law systems”, explains the Ministry of the Interior. “We did this to preserve generalist emergency accommodation at all costs”, especially for the most vulnerable, he explains.
For Delphine Rouilleault, director of the France Terre d’Asile association, “it is the combination of a desire to welcome the whole of French society and administrative facilitation that makes things go well”. Like other associations, the latter denounces a double-speed reception of refugees. “We realize that we did not consider the refugees from Ukraine as a subject of immigration. It says something about the way in which the government has appropriated the question of their reception, ”said Delphine Rouilleault on Wednesday, in an interview with AFP.
France Terre d’Asile therefore calls for duplicating the model of reception reserved for Ukrainians for other exiles. “What we have done for the Ukrainians can serve as a model. There is something healthy in this reception which proves that by being generous and by organizing ourselves correctly, we can welcome well without creating a call for air, ”according to the association.
The streams of Ukrainian refugees are drying up
A year after the start of the war, while a wave of returns has been observed, the arrivals of Ukrainians have largely dried up, notes the Ministry of the Interior. Where a thousand of them showed up daily at the only Parisian reception point in March 2022, there is only a “small flow” of a few hundred people left throughout the territory, over a month.
However, there is no question of immediately closing all the dedicated reception centers, explains the ministry. “We are in a logic of gradual closure”, underlines Place Beauvau, which does not want “to close too quickly in the event of secondary movements”.