The EU wants to allow refugees to exchange some Ukrainian banknotes

Examples of Ukrainian currency Credit: National Bank of Ukraine

THE EU wants to allow refugees to exchange some Ukrainian banknotes in order to make life a little easier for them.

The non-binding resolution confirmed on April 19 wants to see member states to set up national schemes that would allow for the conversion of hryvnia notes under similar conditions across the EU.

The schemes would allow displaced persons from Ukraine, including children, to exchange up to 10 000 hryvnias (approximately € 310), per person.

This would be free of charges, and at the official exchange rate as published by the National Bank of Ukraine. The duration of these schemes would be a minimum of three months.

Due to the disruption caused by the Russian military aggression, the National Central Bank of Ukraine had to suspend the exchange of hryvnia banknotes into foreign currencies in order to protect the country’s limited foreign exchange reserves.

This has affected the convertibility of the hryvnia banknotes in EU countries, where many banks were unwilling to exchange the hryvnia due to exchange rate risks.

Some of the country’s neighbours such as Poland and Romania have taken it upon themselves to allow some limited right of exchange as refugees cross into their territories but as they travel further into the EU, they are effectively left with useless money, hence the European Commission review.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, more than four million people, escaping the war have arrived in the EU and although member states as well as charities and individuals are offering a great deal of support, this move will allow many incomers to feel that they are not totally dependent on the goodwill of others.

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