Cost of living in EU at record high, fueling poverty
Due to the conflict in Ukraine and Western sanctions against Russia, the cost of essential food items in the European Union has reached unprecedented levels, and the situation is set to get much worse.
The world's biggest wheat producer is Russia. The third largest is Ukraine. In fact wheat prices have risen by 70%. The European Commission has just unveiled plans to support food producers and reduce tax to 0% on certain food items. €330m has been announced to support Ukrainian farmers.
The European Commission has presented new legislation to make it mandatory for member states to ensure 80% gas reserves are put in place before November. Experts say that is wishful thinking.
3.5 million Ukrainian refugees have now arrived in the EU. Most countries in the bloc have failed to take in their fair share but some already have.
Almost €3.5bn has been set aside from the EU budget to support refugees, including 1,470 unaccompanied children who have arrived in the bloc from Ukraine. Some nations are saying it's simply not enough money.
EU leaders will hold a summit here on Thursday and Friday to consider, among other things, a request from Poland for new funding towards the cost of dealing with the growing refugee crisis. All indications so far suggest that request will be rejected.