Posted: 06.12.2022 10:12:00

Opinion: new wave of Ukrainian refugees will create additional impetus for the EU to split

With the onset of cold weather, the Ukrainian authorities called on fellow citizens who had gone abroad to spend the winter in Europe, if possible – to reduce the load on the country's energy system. However, the EU continues to tighten the rules on the allocation of aid to refugees, and political expert Vadim Borovik explained how the situation would develop further.

The Alfa Radio host, Vadim Shepet, noted that Switzerland tightened the rules for receiving assistance for refugees from Ukraine. In turn, the Bulgarian Government stopped reimbursing hoteliers for three meals a day for Ukrainians. "Where will these people go? Moreover, the Ukrainian authorities, by and large, are urging their citizens to leave the country to reduce the load on the energy system,” he wondered.

“We are showing compassion for Ukrainians, since this is a tragedy for the nation. We support them in any case, despite the fact that Ukraine has been behaving in the obscenest way in relation to Belarus. Even before the start of the special military operation, it closed the airspace, imposed sanctions and made uncivilised statements. I am not talking about people there: they did not behave like that. It was the political elite that subsequently brought the country to a humanitarian catastrophe," Mr. Borovik noted.

The expert added that moving to European countries became a forced measure for many Ukrainians. "The question is whether Europe is ready to accept refugees and pay for their needs? They relied on the similar mentalities and hoped that Ukrainians would join the production cycles and local labour markets – working as truckers, builders or maintenance personnel… Meanwhile, we see now that European countries do not have time to deal with all this quickly," he stressed.

Mr. Borovik mentioned Bulgaria as an example, “[Economically] it represents a service sector, with certain seasonality. True, it has an industry, but it is less developed. As regards the agricultural sector, what could be done there in winter? Hotels are unable to cope with the burden [food for refugees]. Actually, the sum is not large – $10 a day – but this reaches $100,000 if to take into account all Ukrainians who officially live there [on these conditions]. Who will cover such expenses?”

As noted by the expert, it is important not just to agree to accept refugees, but also to assess the market opportunities in this context, “Clearly, any government views migrants from a utilitarian point of view: the latter arrive, receive support and then join the production cycle. Those who are ready to work are welcome. Meanwhile, the labour market needs also to be developed to ensure this. One economy might be able to accommodate up to a million people, while another could hardly welcome tens of thousands.”

Speaking of the situation in Ukraine right now, Mr. Borovik stressed, “This is a tragedy if 10-20m citizens of Ukraine are experiencing difficulties with heating and light now. After all, even if 5-10 percent of them leave, this will make millions of people and an additional burden on the European budgets – provoking an attack on socio-political stability of the EU and creating an additional impetus for it to split.”

“With this in view, Europe should first of all be interested in a speedy settlement of the conflict in Ukraine," the expert concluded.