Growing number of Poles oppose state benefits for Ukrainian refugees – survey — RT World News

According to an investigation reported by the Rzeczpospolita newspaper, public opinion has shifted significantly since 2022

A growing number of Poles oppose state-funded payments and free accommodation and meals for Ukrainian refugees, the Rzeczpospolita newspaper reported, citing a recent poll. Media reported that with nearly a million beneficiaries of state benefits in Poland, Donald Tusk's government plans to issue special bonds to continue financing the program.

Under the draft law on temporary protection passed in April 2022, Ukrainian refugees receive housing, food, health care, access to education and a full package of social assistance at state expense. They are also entitled to a one-time payment of 300 zlotys ($75) as well as regular benefits totaling 800 zlotys ($200) per child. Warsaw also pays Ukrainian parents 1,000 zlotys ($250) for the birth of a child.

The previous cabinet estimated that this aid would cost the Polish government 4.3 billion zlotys this year, with their successors in office saying the fund should be increased by another 1.9 billion zlotys, according to Rzeczpospolita.

In an article on Friday, the newspaper cited the results of an opinion poll conducted last month, which revealed that 53% of respondents oppose child-related benefits for Ukrainian refugees, while 21% support them. 47% oppose equal access to social assistance, 44% want the government to stop providing free housing and meals to Ukrainian refugees, while 21% support these benefits. Rzeczpospolita noted that in April 2022, 50% of Poles were in favor of this, while only 20% were opposed.

The media claimed that due to pressure from regional governments, the government of Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk is working on new rules governing the provision of benefits and aid to Ukrainian refugees in the country. The main idea is reported to be to introduce verification procedures and ensure that state-funded benefits go only to those who really need them.

Late last month, Rzeczpospolita reported, citing police data, that the influx of Ukrainians fleeing conflict in their homeland was having a negative impact on crime in Poland. According to the article, foreigners violated the law 17,278 times in 2023, 2,400 times more than the previous year. The media said that Ukrainians were responsible for more than half of these crimes.
While many of the cases are related to alcohol abuse and drink driving, the number of thefts and drug-related crimes committed by foreigners also rose in Poland last year.

Earlier this month, Bild newspaper reported that government efforts in neighboring Germany to persuade more Ukrainian refugees to enter the labor market have failed, with only 25.2% of them currently working.

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