NewsEU extends protection for Ukrainian refugees amidst ongoing conflict

EU extends protection for Ukrainian refugees amidst ongoing conflict

Refugees in Medyka
Refugees in Medyka
Images source: © Licensor | Piotr Zagiell
Katarzyna Bogdańska

25 June 2024 12:54

The European Union has decided to extend temporary protection for people who fled Ukraine due to the Russian invasion for another year, from 5 March 2025 to 4 March 2026. Currently, 4.2 million Ukrainians benefit from temporary protection in the European Union member states.

At an express pace, the Council of the European Union, just two weeks after the European Commission presented its proposal, agreed to extend temporary protection for refugees from Ukraine by another year.

This mechanism was activated on 4 March 2022, shortly after Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine (Russia attacked on 24 February 2022) and was set to expire on 4 March 2025. Now, it will be in effect for an additional year.

Nicole de Moor, the Belgian Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration, commented on the Council's decision, saying: "Day by day, Russia terrorises the residents of Ukraine with bomb raids. These are not safe conditions. Those who fled due to Russian aggression can still count on our solidarity".

Belgium currently holds the rotating presidency of the European Council until the end of June. De Moor added that the decision to extend temporary protection does not affect the provisions regarding who can receive such protection.

Protection in the Union

The directive on temporary protection provides immediate protection and access to rights in the European Union, including the right to residence, access to the labour market, social assistance, medical assistance, etc. It also supports member states in managing the influx of refugees in an orderly and effective manner. EU law on temporary protection sets minimum protection standards. The actual level of assistance, such as the amount of allowances, may vary between member states.

Temporary protection is an extraordinary mechanism of the European Union, activated in exceptional circumstances related to a mass influx of refugees. The EU directive on temporary protection was adopted in 2001 following mass displacements caused by armed conflict in the Western Balkans, mainly from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. However, it was activated for the first time over 20 years later in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Now, depending on national procedures, some member states may have to adopt additional implementing acts to formalise the extension of temporary protection.

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