Friday, December 8

The EU agrees to activate the protection directive to ensure the reception of refugees from the Ukrainian war

“Historic decision”, celebrates the European Commissioner for the Interior, Ylva Johanson. Not surprisingly, it is the first time in two decades that the temporary protection directive has been activated, which guarantees the automatic reception of those fleeing a war, such as the one unleashed in Ukraine by the Russian invasion, throughout the EU. The agreement, which is scheduled to be published this Friday in the Official Gazette, consists of giving temporary protection to Ukrainian citizens and their families. Long-term third-country residents in Ukraine may be automatically covered by the temporary protection directive or granted adequate or equivalent status under the national law of the host country, as decided by the country – according to the Commission’s initial proposal Union, the directive was directly applied to them.

For migrants with less than five years in Ukraine, the State that receives them may deport them to their country of origin if it is in a “safe and lasting” way, reports Europa Press: if the safe and long-term return of the migrant cannot be guaranteed , he must receive a status that allows him to continue in the EU, as an asylum seeker, for example.

“Eligible persons will be able to benefit from refugee-like protection status in an EU country for one renewable year,” said French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, hosting the meeting as rotating EU Council President. : “Protection is for all people fleeing from Ukraine.”

“There are many third-country nationals in Ukraine, who worked there temporarily [expatriados] or they were students, and they are not covered, but they are helped and welcomed in Europe and we make it easier for them to connect with their countries of origin for return,” said Johansson.

The decision has been taken by the 27 interior ministers meeting this Thursday in Brussels, 24 hours after the European Commission presented the proposal to activate the directive, which grants residence, work and access to education permits to those displaced by the Russian invasion for one year, extendable up to three.

“Historic decision in the Justice and Home Affairs Council”, the Swedish commissioner tweeted, “the EU will give temporary protection to those fleeing the war in Ukraine. The EU stands together to save lives!” Thus, by agreeing to activate the international protection directive, the reception of refugees in any of the 27 countries of the European Union is ensured, either because they seek reception where they have family or because they are distributed so as not to saturate neighboring countries, com Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Romania, where the hub of coordination, as announced on Thursday by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.

Johansson said: “It is a great day, we have managed to reach a unanimous decision. We met on Sunday afternoon and the ministers have already announced their willingness, we started working that afternoon, the proposal has been drawn up in three days and we have arrived to an agreement today.

“We have received a million refugees from Ukraine, and millions more may arrive. We need solidarity to provide the protection they need,” said the Commissioner for the Interior: “It is important that all refugees are covered as of February 24 This is the basis, there may be Ukrainians who were already working in the EU and cannot return to their country, so they will also be able to access it, it seemed urgent to us to make a decision for the children, that is why it is important that everyone is covered, because Not everyone has a biometric passport, to be able to go to school, health, accommodation, etc…”

After the agreement in the Council of Ministers of the Interior, the formal adoption is expected in 24 hours, so that its publication in the Official Gazette and its entry into force occurs this Friday.

The decision of the 27 comes 24 hours after the European Commission presented an activation proposal so that “those fleeing the war will receive temporary protection in the EU, which means that they will be granted a residence permit and have access to education and the labor market.

The Brussels guidelines recommend that Member States establish special emergency support channels to channel humanitarian aid, and recall the possibility of granting access to the EU for humanitarian reasons.

The Temporary Protection directive was designed to grant immediate protection to people who need it and to avoid overwhelming Member States’ asylum systems. Under this proposal, “Ukrainian citizens and people who have made Ukraine their home, as well as members of their families displaced by the conflict, will be entitled to protection throughout the European Union.”

“Nevertheless,” says Brussels, “access to the EU must be allowed for transit before returning to their countries of origin.”

According to the European Commission, the measure makes it possible to provide protection and rights immediately: “Residence rights, access to the labor market, access to housing, social assistance, medical or other assistance and means of subsistence. For children and unaccompanied adolescents, temporary protection confers the right to legal guardianship and access to education”.

The rules of the directive, explains Brussels, “promote a balance of efforts between Member States to host displaced people from Ukraine. The Commission will coordinate a Solidarity Platform in which Member States can exchange information on reception capacity.”

Frontex, the European Union Agency for Asylum and Europol, announces Brussels, will participate in the “additional operational support at the request of the Member States”.