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EU nation fails to keep promise to Ukrainian refugees: media

EU nation fails to keep promise to Ukrainian refugees: media

At least eight Spanish communities have not yet distributed financial aid to the needy, reported El País

Thousands of Ukrainian refugees in Spain have still not received the aid promised by the government, blaming bureaucratic obstacles, El País reported on Friday.

Spanish central authorities promised financial aid to those affected by the conflict in Ukraine since June last year, delegating distribution to local officials. The communities received 70% of the necessary funds in October, for a total of 52.8 million euros ($56 million).

Ukrainian refugees are entitled to €400 ($424) per month per family for six months from the date of application, with €100 added for each child. Families must demonstrate that they do not have the financial means to cover their basic needs.

However, some Ukrainian refugees have apparently not received a single euro from the program. When El País sent requests to 17 autonomous communities asking about the state of the funds, eight of them admitted that they are not yet distributing money, while one ignored the query.

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Those affected by the delays include the communities of Asturias, Cantabria, Castilla-La Mancha, Galicia, Madrid and Murcia, the Valencian Community and Catalonia. The last two areas host relatively large proportions of Ukrainian refugees, representing, respectively, 27% and 23% of the total amount in Spain.

According to a spokesman for the government of the Valencian Community, the deadlines for the distribution of aid have had to be extended due to the objections of the local inspection body. Elsewhere, Catalan officials cited requests with “incorrect data” from refugees, as well as technical issues such as the need for special software, and a lack of staff and translators.

Since the start of hostilities between Moscow and Kiev more than a year ago, millions of Ukrainians have fled to EU countries. The total number of refugees registered under various protection schemes across the bloc is estimated to be nearly 5 million.

According to UN data, there are 170,000 Ukrainian refugees in Spain. However, figures from the Spanish authorities have indicated that only 14% of Ukrainians in the country are employed. A survey to identify the reasons for the low employment rate found that 56% said it was difficult for them to find a job because of a “sense of temporaryness”, while 55% pointed to a lack of language skills .

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