Elisabeth Baume-Schneider visits aid projects for Ukrainian refugees in Poland and Slovakia

Bern, 06.07.2023 - Federal Councillor Elisabeth Baume-Schneider visited Poland and Slovakia on 5 and 6 July, two countries that have taken in large numbers of people fleeing the war in neighbouring Ukraine. Switzerland supports projects in these two countries under the Migration Framework Credit of the second Swiss contribution to selected EU Member States. Ms Baume-Schneider was able to see for herself the workings of a number of UNICEF projects that benefit refugee children in particular. She also held bilateral talks with government representatives in both countries.

Poland and Slovakia have taken in well above the European average number of Ukrainian refugees since the war began on 24 February 2022. Switzerland is providing financial support to EU Member States particularly affected by the influx of these refugees via the Rapid Response Fund, a financial instrument under the Migration Framework Credit of Switzerland's second contribution to selected EU Member States. Switzerland used CHF 5 million of this fund in 2022 to finance a range of activities by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The same amount will be spent this year on a project by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) that is being implemented in six countries, including Poland and Slovakia.

Host families for refugee children

In Poland, Ms Baume-Schneider visited a project in Łódź. Switzerland supports the reception, integration and protection of refugee children in host families there through UNICEF. Ms Baume-Schneider also held talks with several international organisations and NGOs present in the country. In a bilateral meeting with Polish Deputy Minister of the Interior Paweł Szefernaker she expressed her great respect for Poland's efforts in welcoming people fleeing Ukraine.

In Slovakia, on 6 July, the federal councillor visited the Gabčíkovo Humanitarian Centre, which houses almost 1,000 refugees from Ukraine, including more than 300 children. At the Innovation Centre of the Faculty of Education at Comenius University in Bratislava she learnt about the training given to social workers to enable them to meet the specific needs of refugees. Switzerland supports the protection and integration of refugee children in Slovakia through UNICEF. It is also the main sponsor of the Comenius University training project, together with the USA. In addition, Ms Baume-Schneider met with State Secretary Ľubomír Šablica, as well as with various NGOs and international organisations working in Slovakia.

Two main host countries for Ukrainian refugees

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, Poland has registered more than 1.6 million requests for temporary protection from people fleeing Ukraine. Of this number, more than a million are still in Poland. In absolute figures, the country has received the most refugees from Ukraine. Slovakia has granted temporary protection to 101,000 people: in proportion to its population, it is also one of the EU countries that has taken in the most refugees.

Elisabeth Baume-Schneider was accompanied on the trip by State Secretary for Migration Christine Schraner Burgener and by National Council members Corina Gredig (GLP/ZH), Niklaus-Samuel Gugger (EVP/ZH), Pierre-André Page (SVP/FR), Jon Pult (SP/GR) and Céline Widmer (SP/ZH).


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Last modification 06.02.2024

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