(MENAFN) A noticeable shift in public sentiment towards Ukrainian refugees has emerged in Poland, with an increasing number of Poles expressing opposition to state-funded benefits, accommodations, and meals for the approximately one million Ukrainian refugees currently residing in the country. According to a recent survey cited by the Rzeczpospolita newspaper, the findings reveal a significant change in attitudes, raising questions about the sustainability of the existing support system.
The survey, conducted last month, reported that 53 percent of respondents opposed child-related benefits for Ukrainian refugees, with only 21 percent in favor. Additionally, 47 percent expressed opposition to equal access to social assistance, while 44 percent advocated for discontinuing the provision of free housing and meals for Ukrainian refugees, contrasting with the 20 percent and 50 percent figures respectively in April 2022. The results underscore a growing discontent among Poles regarding the financial support extended to Ukrainian refugees.
The government, led by Donald Tusk, has plans to address the financial burden of supporting Ukrainian refugees by issuing special bonds to continue financing the program. Under the temporary protection bill passed in April 2022, Ukrainian refugees in Poland receive comprehensive assistance, including housing, food, health care, education, and a full range of social benefits at the state's expense. This assistance also includes a one-time payment of 300 zloty (USD75) and regular benefits totaling 800 zloty (USD200) per child, with additional payments for childbirth.
The financial commitment associated with this support is substantial, with the previous cabinet estimating a cost of 4.3 billion zloty for the Polish government in the current year. However, Rzeczpospolita reports that the successors in office are contemplating an additional increase of 1.9 billion zloty to the fund. This evolving situation prompts a critical examination of the delicate balance between humanitarian assistance, public sentiment, and the financial implications for the host country, shedding light on the challenges faced by Poland in managing the ongoing refugee crisis.
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