EXCLUSIVE EU nations to exchange refugees' hryvnias at Ukraine cenbank rate- draft document

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Ukrainian hryvnia banknotes are seen in a photo illustration shot in Kiev, Ukraine, August 6, 2014. REUTERS/Konstantin Chernichkin/Illustration/File Photo

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BRUSSELS, March 24 (Reuters) - European Union countries are likely to agree to allow millions of Ukrainian refugees to exchange their currency, the hryvnia, into currencies used in the EU over the next three months at the Ukrainian central bank rate, a draft EU document showed.

The agreement is aimed at helping millions of Ukrainian refugees, who have fled the Russian invasion, to support themselves by exchanging their money into the currency of the EU country they have escaped to.

The draft document, seen by Reuters, is to be adopted by EU governments and would apply to all refugees under EU temporary protection, granted to Ukrainians earlier in March.

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While maximum limits per person for exchanging hryvnia banknotes should be established taking into account national circumstances, the maximum limit should be at or below 10,000 hryvnias, with the number in brackets, signalling it might yet change, the draft showed.

Conversion into EU currencies is to be done without charges and the applicable exchange rate should be the official exchange rate published by the National Bank of Ukraine, the draft said.

The Ukrainian central bank's exchange rate of hryvnias into euros was set at 32.138 on Thursday, which means each refugee could get 311 euros for 10,000 hryvnias.

The scheme should run for a minimum of three months, the draft said, with the number placed within brackets to denote it could change.

Every EU country will set up its own system to make sure each refugee exchanges the maximum amount only once.

The scheme does not mention any role for the European Central Bank. That means national authorities would make the needed arrangements with the Ukrainian central bank, a departure from a scheme considered earlier in which the ECB would have been involved in a financial facility set up for the conversion. read more

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Reporting by Jan Strupczewski Editing by Bernadette Baum

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