Number of Ukrainian refugees granted temporary protection in Hungary remarkably low

August 10. 2023. – 12:44 PM



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According to Eurostat's figures, just over four million Ukrainian refugees were granted temporary protection in the EU by June this year. Data published by the EU's statistical office on Wednesday shows that Germany (1.3 million), Poland (nearly 978,000) and the Czech Republic (almost 350,000) have granted the most refugees such status.

It was just days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, in March 2022, that the EU decided to grant temporary protection to people fleeing the attacked country.

Relative to the size of their own population, the Eastern Member States, which joined the EU since 2004, are the ones that have granted temporary refugee status to the most people from Ukraine. On a per thousand basis, the Czech Republic (32.2), Poland (26.6), Estonia (25.8), Bulgaria (24.9) and Lithuania (24.7) are in the top five.

Hungary in last place

It is clearly visible on the attached map that as a neighbour of Ukraine, Hungary lags far behind not only the regional figures but also the EU average in terms of its share in proportion to the country's population. In total, only 32,000 people have been granted temporary protection by Hungary, making the country second to last in this aspect.

Number and proportion of non-EU citizens fleeing Ukraine who were granted temporary protection by June 2023 – Source: Eurostat
Number and proportion of non-EU citizens fleeing Ukraine who were granted temporary protection by June 2023 – Source: Eurostat

Although no precise figure has been provided, after a few minutes of tabulation, Eurostat statistics based on the population in 2023 and the number of protected persons in June 2023 reveal that

per a thousand people, Hungary has granted temporary protection to the fifth lowest number of refugees from Ukraine, slightly more than 3.3.

Only the numbers of France -which generally doesn't include minors – (just under 1), Greece (2.4), Italy (2.7) and Malta (nearly 3.3) are worse, with the EU average at around 9.1.

The Hungarian rate may be reduced by dual nationals fleeing from Transcarpathia. They are counted as EU citizens along with Hungarians, while the statistics refer to protection given to non-EU citizens arriving from Ukraine. However, the attitude of Hungarian institutions, combined with the government's pro-Russian policies may deter fleeing Ukrainians from applying for status in Hungary.

According to the June report of the EU's Agency for Fundamental Rights, Hungarian authorities do not provide enough information on temporary protection, so many people do not apply for it.

The Hungarian government has regularly claimed that the country is carrying out its biggest humanitarian operation ever, with more than a million people "leaving the neighbouring country through Hungary".

The state news agency only mentioned the Czech data and said nothing about Hungary

The Hungarian state news agency (MTI) did not mention the Hungarian numbers in its Wednesday report on the Eurostat data. MTI only published the report of its Prague correspondent mentioning that relative to population size, the Czechs have granted temporary protection status to the most people fleeing the war in Ukraine, but only two thirds of them have found jobs and more than half of them were working in jobs below their qualifications.

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