The German Interior Minister Nancy Weser has called for a fairer distribution of refugees from Ukraine in the European Union, noting that if the war that began a year ago continues, countries receiving the bulk of refugees will have to be helped.
Weser said in statements to the German Funke media group issued on Friday that if there were any other large-scale refugee flows from Ukraine, “there must be a more fair distribution in Europe… Then our neighbors in Eastern Europe, and us too, will need some kind of support,” she added.
Poland, with a population of about 40 million, has so far received more than 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees.
The German Interior minister noted that Germany, with a population of 84.3 million, has taken in more than a million people, but Spain, with a population of 48.6 million – larger than Poland’s – has provided sanctuary to only 160,000 Ukrainians.
“It can’t stay like this… Today marks the first anniversary of the start of Russia’s attack on Ukraine,” Weser said.
Weser is facing pressure from German state governments, which are demanding more financial aid from the federal government in Berlin because of the increasing numbers of refugees and asylum seekers.
The German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and state premiers would continue to negotiate the issue, at Easter, and The German Association of Cities and Towns called on the federal and state governments to quickly expand assistance to receive refugees.
The head of the association, Markus Leve, said that there is still a great willingness among the population to help, and added in statements to maintain this situation, help must come quickly.
Meanwhile, Leve called for more solidarity in Europe, saying: “Poland and Germany have taken in about half of the Ukrainian refugees in the European Union… An equal distribution of all refugees within the EU will be essential”.
In a related development, data and facts from the German Federal Authority for Migration and Refugees, published by the agency in Berlin on Friday, stated that nearly two-thirds of the Ukrainian war refugees who came to Germany are women.
Of the 1.06 million people from Ukraine’s war zones who have sought refuge in Germany so far, 62% are women and 38% are men, and nearly 3,000 people are diverse.
The majority of refugees (68%) are between the ages of 18 and 63, followed by children and youth ages 6 to 17 (25%), children under six (9%) and adults aged 64 and over (8%) of the total refugees from Ukraine, 96% have Ukrainian citizenship, and about 4% are from third countries and were living in Ukraine at the time of the attack.
In a simplified procedure, refugees can gain admission to free integration courses, which, according to the authority, have already been attended by more than 200,000 people.
Almost 25,000 people took an initial orientation course, and about 5,000 in a private professional language course.