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Extension of temporary protection to Ukrainian refugees by EU member states

The EU Council extends the Temporary Protection Mechanism to Ukrainian citizens from March 4, 2024 to March 4, 2025.  

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The EU Council, in order to offer support to more than 4 million people fleeing Russia’s war against Ukraine and currently living in the EU, agreed on Sept. 28, 2023, to extend the Temporary Protection Mechanism from March 4, 2024 to March 4, 2025.  

Temporary Protection (Directive 2001/55/EC)  

Temporary protection is an emergency EU mechanism that came into force with Council Directive 2001/55/EC of July 20, 2001, as a result of displacements in Europe due to the armed conflicts in the Western Balkans, particularly in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo.

The purpose of the directive is to establish minimum standards for granting temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons from third countries, promoting a balance of effort between member states receiving displaced persons and suffering the consequences of receiving them.  

Description and advantages of temporary protection

Temporary protection refers to a permit that confers a special form of immediate and collective protection for displaced persons who cannot return to their countries of origin.  

The aim is to relieve pressure on national asylum systems and enable displaced persons to enjoy harmonized rights in the EU. Thus, under this system, provision is made for obtaining residence permits in EU countries, use of educational and health services, and access to the labor market. In addition, opportunities for social assistance, housing and livelihood assistance are provided to the displaced persons.  

Who is entitled to temporary protection

Those entitled to temporary protection are:

  • Ukrainian citizens residing in Ukraine before February 24, 2022;
  • stateless persons;
  • refugees in Ukraine, or
  • holders of national protection in Ukraine before February 24, 2022.   

Background and future steps

The protection mechanism was activated on March 4, 2022, a few days after the start of the invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces, and was automatically extended by one year.  

The Council will have to formally adopt the decision to extend the temporary protection to March 4, 2025 once the legal review and translation into all EU languages of the political agreement reached in the Council is completed.  

Regulatory Framework

Directive 2001/55/CE

Reference

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