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EU extends temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees until 2025

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In a significant move aimed at providing continued support and stability to Ukrainian refugees, the EU Council has announced an extension of temporary protection until March 4, 2025. This decision, which includes provisions for residency, access to the labor market, housing, medical and social assistance, and education for children, comes as a response to the ongoing crisis resulting from Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.

The European Commission, in a proposal put forth today, seeks to further extend the temporary protection for individuals fleeing the conflict in Ukraine from March 4, 2024, to March 3, 2025. This extension is expected to offer assurance and assistance to over 4 million individuals who have found refuge across the EU.

The Temporary Protection Directive was initially activated on March 4, 2022, following a unanimous decision by EU Member States. It was automatically extended by one year. The Commission’s rationale for this extension lies in the persistent need for temporary protection, given the volatile and precarious situation in Ukraine. The current circumstances do not yet provide a safe and durable environment for those under temporary protection to return to their home country.

Since the directive’s activation, which occurred only a week after Russia’s aggressive actions in Ukraine, EU Member States have displayed an unprecedented show of solidarity with Ukrainian refugees. This support has not been limited to providing shelter but has also encompassed concrete efforts to integrate refugees into European society.

The next step in this process involves the Council’s adoption of the Commission’s proposal, which, if approved, will extend the temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees until 2025.

Background on the temporary protection directive
The Temporary Protection Directive offers immediate protection and access to rights within the EU for refugees. These rights include residency, access to the labor market, housing, social welfare assistance, medical aid, and other forms of support. Importantly, the directive serves to prevent overwhelming pressure on national asylum systems and allows Member States to manage refugee arrivals in a systematic and efficient manner. Given the continued need for such protection, the Commission views this extension as a necessary and fitting response to the current situation.

The solidarity platform ‘Ukraine’
Established by the Commission at the onset of the conflict, the Solidarity Platform ‘Ukraine’ acts as a collaborative forum, bringing together EU institutions, Member States, Schengen Associated Countries, EU Agencies, international organizations, Ukrainian authorities, and Moldovan authorities. Its purpose is to facilitate discussions on operational matters and coordinate support on the ground in a flexible and informal manner.

The extension of temporary protection underscores the EU’s commitment to humanitarian values and its dedication to assisting those in need during times of crisis. This decision ensures that Ukrainian refugees will continue to receive the necessary support and security until conditions in Ukraine allow for their safe and sustainable return home.

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