Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Kalina Konstantinova apologized to Ukrainian refugees in the country after she announced the scrapping of the government’s housing programme for the accommodation of Ukrainian refugees due to their attitude on Monday.
Her apology came after Konstantinova, who called refugees “capricious” in a video address on Monday (30 May), was criticized by many civil society organisations for revealing that the state had not provided information to Ukrainians about their accommodation, which led them to refuse to be cooperate.
Мost Ukrainians lived in hotels on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast until 31 May, which were paid for first with money from the state budget, but then all expenses were covered by EU funding.
“I want to apologize to those Bulgarian and Ukrainian citizens who have felt affected by my words. That was not my goal,” said Konstantinova during her parliamentary hearing. She commented that the most important and most difficult thing they have achieved is that tens of thousands of people have a roof over their heads.
“We have faced a challenge that Bulgaria has never faced. We did not even allow ourselves to get close to a severe humanitarian crisis and people on the streets, and the risk of this was enormous. The truth is that Bulgaria has provided the best and quality care (for Ukrainian refugees).
Everywhere, in every other country, they are in tent camps. Here, this breath of fresh air that we gave them during the hotel program, in addition to providing the best quality care in Europe, also helped their integration, “said Konstantinova.
There are nearly 100,000 Ukrainian refugees in Bulgaria. The programme for their accommodation in hotels along the coast ended on Tuesday (31 May) due to the start of the summer tourist season.