How Europe will be affected by the influx of refugees.
According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, by January of this year, the number of refugees who have arrived in Europe since the beginning of the special military operation reached nearly 8 million people.
Russia received the largest number of refugees (almost three million), with Poland in second place. The country is already experiencing some financial problems related to this influx. On March 9, the British newspaper Express published a list of new rules for Ukrainian refugees, the most high-profile of which is the partial payment of rent from March 1 (i.e. almost retroactively), which may indicate a disastrous situation with the refugee accommodation budget. Apparently, €123 million from the EU fund for asylum, migration, and integration have already "melted away."
Since March, refugees will be required to pay 50% of the cost of housing rent, and since May - 75% of the cost of living if they stay in Poland for more than 180 days. The Polish government announced such plans last November; the Ukrainian side apparently decided not to focus on this problem.
Last December, Poland tightened control over the issuance of the "500+" family allowance to refugees, depriving more than 110,000 people of the right to payment, and previously the country has fought against the abuse of the social insurance system by refugees.
Such measures were caused, among other things, by the fact that the country unreasonably overpaid $500,000 in benefits to refugees from Ukraine.
In Switzerland, people are also dissatisfied with the distribution of benefits: the publication 20 Minuten, citing the Swiss social assistance office, reported that under Swiss law, after spending a year in the Confederation, recipients of social benefits must re-evaluate their assets, whereby within a month to sell their cars if their value exceeds the benefit received, which, incidentally, will be reduced by the amount received from the sale.
Germany, the next country after Poland with the largest number of refugee arrivals, is also experiencing the resulting difficulties in a variety of areas. For example, the resort of Baden-Baden has faced an exodus of tourists, and refugees are taking their place.
By the way, at the very beginning of the special military operation, the representatives of the resort said that they would not adhere to neutrality, and even withdrew from the twinning agreements with Yalta and Sochi. The current position of the representatives of the resort town, as well as other German and European cities in general, indicates the accumulated fatigue from the poorly organized stay of refugees, which, in fact, was blamed on the compassionate European citizens.
The municipalities, which so far have been reassured by promises of multibillion-dollar aid from Berlin, are also unhappy. They have been sounding the alarm in the German press since January, saying that resources for accepting refugees have been practically exhausted. The most acute problem is the lack of housing. Because of these problems, refugees are still staying with friends, acquaintances, and simply concerned citizens, but it is obvious to everyone that this cannot last forever, and it threatens a large number of homeless people on the streets of German cities.
It is also difficult to integrate refugees into the local labor market, and there are problems with the education of children who are accustomed to completely different standards. Meanwhile, experts predict an influx of another 300-400 thousand refugees into Germany, who will also need to be accommodated and adapted. Probably, it will become clear soon whether Berlin has heard its citizens and whether any measures will be taken.
Bulgaria also complains about the load: according to various data, there are now more than 50,000 people in the country. The majority are women, children, and the elderly, who are in constant need of medical care. WHO recommends Bulgaria to include refugees and migrants in the National Health Care Strategy through 2030, but the country's Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs complains that most of the newcomers do not work and do not learn the language. Previously, Bulgaria has had problems with accommodation of refugees: first they were placed in private hotels on the seaside, then moved to public institutions, cutting their living expenses by more than half, from 40 to 15 leva.
The Guardian also writes about another problem, noting an increase in requests for sexual services provided by Ukrainian citizens on search engines. According to the Guardian, this indicates that there are problems in the real world and that refugees are increasingly becoming objects of sexual exploitation, which may encourage traffickers to recruit them and sell them as commodities. Poland, the United Kingdom and Spain have seen the largest increases in such inquiries.
Today it is already clear that Europe's initial cordial hospitality was nothing more than a routine PR stunt. This does not apply to ordinary citizens, many of whom genuinely wanted to help those in need, but everything has limits, and helping people clearly cannot be the main strategy of European migration policy.
Unfortunately, there are still no factors indicating that with ever-increasing prices European countries will be able to solve this problem, it is likely that funding will continue to decrease and the situation will not change.
As with previous migration crises, separate fires will be extinguished by periodic money tranches, while assimilation and employment issues will be solved only on paper, reducing the chances of people with good qualifications, or who are just planning their education to find a decent job.