CEB approves almost €2 million to help refugees from Ukraine in Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania and the Republic of Moldova

11 May 2022

PARIS – The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) today approved almost €2 million in grants from its Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF) to help people fleeing the war in Ukraine and arriving in Bulgaria, Estonia, Lithuania and the Republic of Moldova. This brings the total amount of MRF grants approved in response to the Ukraine crisis to €5.1 million.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 5.9 million people have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries since 24 February 2022. This number is rising and threatening to overwhelm the social systems of receiving CEB member countries.

“In line with our historic mandate to help refugees, migrants and displaced people, we continue to show solidarity and support for the people fleeing the war in Ukraine,” noted CEB Governor Carlo Monticelli. “We are engaging with our stakeholders and partners in the field to find the most effective way for our financing to meet the evolving needs of refugees and host communities.”

The four new grants will be used to finance immediate and most urgent needs of refugees: healthcare services; counselling and psychological support; training in digital skills and e-services; and renovation and extension of reception centres. 

The recipients of the grants are:

  • International Migration Organization (IOM) in Bulgaria (€400,000);
  • Estonian Refugee Council (almost €200,000);
  • Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour of Lithuania (almost €500,000);
  • Ministry of Health of the Republic of Moldova (€900,000).

Thanks to its past experience and the MRF track record since 2015, the CEB has been able to identify needs in the field quickly by leveraging its strong ties with public authorities, international partners, and country-specific actors. 

In March 2022, it approved €3.1 million from the MRF in a fast-track procedure to the country offices of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovak Republic, as well as to the Refugee Facilities Administration of the Czech Ministry of the Interior.

CEB’s response to Ukraine refugee crisis

The CEB was the first MDB to disburse grants to provide immediate assistance to refugees from Ukraine. It has so far approved a total of €5.1 million in grants from its Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF) to CEB member countries that are recording substantial refugee inflows from Ukraine – Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovak Republic. This funding is used to provide safe transport, shelter, medical care, counselling, and data collection/registration of refugees.

In addition, the CEB has recently issued a €1 billion seven-year Social Inclusion Bond (SIB), whose proceeds could be used, in part or in full, for lending in favour of CEB member countries’ projects to support long-term needs of refugees and their host communities.

Migrant and Refugee Fund 

The Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF) is a trust fund set up by the CEB in 2015 to help its member states accommodate migrants and refugees who arrive on their territories. The MRF has received contributions from 22 CEB member states, as well as the CEB and the European Investment Bank (EIB). Among CEB member states, the largest contributors are Germany, France and Italy. Since its establishment, the CEB has approved €33.3 million in grants from the MRF in favour of 41 projects.

Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 42 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AAA with Standard & Poor's, outlook stable, AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook positive and AAA* with Scope Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.