Ukrainian refugees: protection extended for 4 million currently living in the EU
In order to provide certainty for more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees currently living in the EU, the European Council agreed to extend the temporary protection for people fleeing from Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine from 4 March 2024 to 4 March 2025.
“The EU will support the Ukrainian people for as long as it takes.
“The prolongation of the protection status offers certainty to the more than 4 million refugees who have found a safe haven in the EU.”
Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gómez, Spanish acting minister of the interior
The temporary protection mechanism was activated on 4 March 2022 – only a few days after Russian armed forces launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine – and it was automatically extended by one year.
What is temporary protection?
The system provides immediate and collective (i.e. without the need for the examination of individual applications) protection to displaced persons who are not in a position to return to their country of origin.
The objective is to alleviate pressure on national asylum systems and to allow displaced persons to enjoy harmonised rights across the EU. These rights include:
- access to the labour market and housing
- medical assistance
- social welfare assistance
- access to education for children
Following the political agreement, the Council will have to formally adopt the decision to extend the temporary protection. This will happen once the legal scrubbing and translation in all EU languages has taken place.
Temporary protection is an EU emergency mechanism which is activated in exceptional circumstances of mass influx. The EU directive on temporary protection was adopted in 2001, in the aftermath of the large-scale displacement experienced in Europe due to the armed conflicts in the Western Balkans, in particular from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.
Read also: Ukraine crisis: financial support is urgently needed to ensure affordable and accessible housing in EU regions and cities hosting refugees
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