- Hans Weber
- December 1, 2023
Czech Government Ends Solidarity Contribution for Ukrainian Refugees, Introduces Unclear Humanitarian Allowance
Starting next month, the Czech government will terminate the solidarity contribution provided to households accommodating Ukrainian refugees. This decision is part of the government’s plan to replace it with “countable accommodation costs” directly delivered to refugees as a humanitarian allowance. However, the specific amount that refugees will receive remains unclear, causing concerns and criticism.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has prepared a proposal that includes specific monetary amounts. However, disagreements have arisen, with objections coming from the Ministry of Finance, employers, and the Ministry of Regional Development. Despite the criticisms and suggestions from these entities, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs did not take them into consideration.
According to the proposal, the housing costs for refugees will range from 3,000 CZK per month for a single refugee to 15,000 CZK for five or more refugees in properties registered in the authorities’ database for refugee purposes. For unregistered properties, the amount will be 80% lower, ranging from 2,400 to 12,000 CZK.
However, the proposed accommodation costs do not align with the actual rental prices, as highlighted by the Czech Confederation of Industry. They have warned that this discrepancy could lead to an increase in the number of people unable to afford their accommodations, putting them at risk of homelessness and poverty. The proposed amount also fails to consider the varying costs of living in different towns and cities, disregarding the higher rents in major cities like Prague or Brno compared to less expensive areas.
The Union of Cities and Municipalities, the Prague City Hall, and the Ministry of Regional Development have joined in raising objections to the proposal. They argue that the proposed amount of 3,000 CZK per person per month is lower than the current contribution of 5,000 CZK per month for a single foreigner in a solidarity household.
The ongoing debate between ministries continues, with the Ministry of Finance criticizing the proposal for an additional expenditure of 5.52 billion CZK. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs will have to find these funds independently. The Ministry of Finance has requested that the government remove the resolution requiring the Minister of Finance to secure the financial resources.
However, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs has refused to eliminate the resolution, citing budget constraints. As an alternative, they have proposed that the government’s budgetary reserve should cover the increased costs.
This policy change has sparked criticism from various groups and organizations. The uncertainty surrounding the amount of support that Ukrainian refugees will receive raises concerns about its impact on their lives and overall well-being. It remains to be seen how this new humanitarian allowance will be implemented and whether it will adequately address the needs of the refugee population.
Article by Prague Forum