The social development bank for Europe
Czech Republic and CEB sign a grant of almost €400,000 to facilitate early integration of refugees from Ukraine
21 April 2022
Prague – The Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), Carlo Monticelli, and Vít Rakušan, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and Minister of the Interior, today signed a €399,899 grant agreement to assist early integration of refugees from Ukraine.
Coming from CEB’s Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF), the grant will help the Refugee Facilities Administration of the Czech Ministry of the Interior to finance the provision of accommodation, information, employment, health, legal and social services. It will also fund Czech language text books for Ukrainian refugees as part of a programme financed by the Czech Republic and by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF) of the European Union.
“The ongoing influx of displaced persons from Ukraine is causing an unprecedented burden on the social systems of receiving countries,” said CEB Governor Carlo Monticelli. “The grant agreement we signed today with the Czech Republic confirms our continued support to our member states to allow a swift response to urgent needs emerging on the ground.”
The Czech Republic has so far granted temporary protection status to more than 300,000 Ukrainian citizens, most of them children, women and the elderly. In case of prolonged conflict in Ukraine, it is estimated that this number could reach 500,000, or about 5% of the total population of the country.
The increasing refugee flow is putting a strain on the Czech social system, which currently has to rely on its own resources to deal with this unprecedented situation. The existing integration centres no longer have spare capacity.
“The grant from the Council of Europe Development Bank is an important signal that the situation in the Czech Republic and the assistance we provide is seen and appreciated abroad,” said Vít Rakušan, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Czech Republic and Minister of the Interior. “We are thankful for the help received from the Bank. We are providing accommodation and access to social welfare for all, so the Refugee Facilities Administration of the Ministry of the Interior will utilise this help to the maximum extent.”
The CEB and the Czech Ministry of Finance are currently working to finalise a €200 million loan, as well as potentially additional €200 million, to co-finance the costs defined in the Czech government’s strategic priorities to deal with the refugee crisis caused by the war in Ukraine.
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 almost 2.8 million in grants from its Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF) to the offices of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in CEB member countries that are recording substantial refugee inflows from Ukraine – 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, by the CEB member countries to support long-term needs of refugees and their host communities.
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.