EU Extends Temporary Protection Status for Ukrainians for Another Year
The Council of the European Union has extended the period of temporary protection for Ukrainians seeking refuge from the war until March 2025, a decision reached during a meeting in Brussels on September 28.
In a statement, the Council noted, "To provide reassurance for more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees currently residing in the EU, the Council has agreed to extend temporary protection for people fleeing Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine from March 4, 2024, to March 4, 2025."
Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gomez, Spain's Minister of the Interior and current EU Council President, stated, "The EU will support the Ukrainian people for as long as necessary. Extending protection provides certainty for over 4 million refugees who have found safe haven."
To provide some context, the EU activated the Temporary Protection Directive on March 4, 2022, ensuring immediate protection and access to rights within the EU.
The proposal to extend this protection was initially put forth by the European Commission on September 19.
According to UN data as of May 23, more than 8.25 million Ukrainians have become refugees since the start of Russia's full-scale invasion.
It is worth noting that over 5.14 million Ukrainian refugees have applied for temporary resident status in Western European countries bordering Ukraine.
The system offers immediate and collective protection (i.e., without the need for individual assessments) to displaced individuals who are unable to return to their country of origin. Its aim is to alleviate pressure on national asylum systems and enable displaced persons to benefit from harmonized rights within the EU. These rights include:
- Access to the job market and accommodation
- Medical assistance
- Social aid
- Access to education for children
Temporary protection is an extraordinary EU mechanism activated in exceptional circumstances of mass influx. The EU's Temporary Protection Directive was adopted in 2001 following large-scale displacement in Europe due to armed conflicts in the Western Balkans, particularly from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.