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Staff in EU institutions donate €200,000 for Ukraine
Staff working for the EU institutions have dug deep into their own pockets to donate around €200,000 for a new emergency fund for Ukraine.
Set up days after Russia’s invasion of its neighbour, civil servants in the Commission, Council, Parliament, and EU agencies have rushed aid to those in the greatest need in the shortest possible time. The cash will be available in Ukraine and to refugees this week.
It’s just the latest fundraiser for the team of civil servants behind the EU Staff Covid-19 Fund, which has already channelled close to €1 million to Europeans suffering in the pandemic.
The new initiative is backed by trade unions in the institutions and managed by Belgium’s King Baudouin Foundation.
“We are witnessing horror unleashed by conflict on our continent on a scale not seen since the Second World War,” said Bruno Mola of the EU Staff Fund.
“A large number of colleagues came to us asking if we could organise a response to help people on the ground and refugees in other countries. We want to offer a means for EU staff to join together to show our collective solidarity with the people of Ukraine,” he explained.
The EU staff fund was able to identify the emerging needs of smaller initiatives, both in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries, pointed out Mola. “We have a network of partner organisations that allows us to have direct contact with people on the ground.”
He said that it was important for the fundraisers to “enlarge the sphere” of current donations. “We don’t expect to take all the space in the solidarity around Ukraine, but offer an additional option on top on what is already being done.”
Originally set up in 2019 by colleagues concerned about the environmental crisis, the action group launched a new initiative in 2020 to respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Both projects are ongoing, said Mola, with the latter now shifting from emergency to recovery assistance through long-term social funds.
With the staff fund also raising cash for flood victims in Belgium in 2021 as well as its latest response to the war in Ukraine, the group is currently undergoing a reflection on how it can best coordinate its response to future crises.
“I think the times that we are living in require all our engagement to face the big existential challenges. Covid, climate change and now the war, they’re all dramatically interlinked. There’s a renewed need for wider engagement that we as EU civil servants are trying to put in place and play our part,” said Mola.
Donations to the emergency fund for Ukraine can be made via the King Baudouin Foundation.