The European Commission adopted today the Communication on Temporary Protection Directive. The Directive was triggered for the first time on 4 March 2022 in response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, to protect people fleeing the war.
Since then around 4 million people were granted immediate protection in the EU, out of which more than 3 million in the first half of 2022. All those registered had the right to access the labour market, education, healthcare, and accommodation. The EU’s response to the war in Ukraine shows once more what is possible when the EU acts united. The Temporary Protection Directive has proven to be an essential instrument to provide immediate protection in the EU and it should remain part of the toolbox available to the European Union in the future.
This Communication takes stock of the Directive’s implementation over the last year, draws the lessons learned and identifies priority areas where continued efforts are needed.
The EU response a nutshell:
The Directive provided immediate protection while reducing formalities to the minimum. It complemented such protection with a comprehensive and harmonised set of rights:
• Access to registration and documentation: Member States swiftly set up the procedures for registration and issuance of necessary documentation.
• Special protection for children: currently close to one fifth of Ukraine’s children are taking refuge in the EU.
• Access to education and vocational training: as of the beginning of the school year last September, some half a million Ukrainian children were enrolled in education systems across the EU.
• Addressing risks of trafficking in human beings and supporting victims of war crimes: the EU put in place the Common Anti-trafficking Plan to raise awareness among the displaced people and prevent human trafficking.
• Access to healthcare and social benefits: almost 2 000 Ukrainian patients have been evacuated successfully to 20 EU and EEA countries, mental health and psychosocial support offered in the majority of Member States to those who fled the war.
• Access to jobs: around one million displaced people are in employment across Europe and the EU has set up a Talent Pool Pilot to support labour market integration.
• Access to accommodation and housing: the ‘Safe Homes’ guidance assists Member States, regional and local authorities, and civil society in the organisation of private housing initiatives. The Commission awarded EUR 5.5 million to the project run by the International Federation of Red Cross supporting the implementation of the Safe Homes and launched a call for proposals for project grants to further promote community sponsorship schemes.
The Solidarity Platform ‘Ukraine’ set up by the Commission immediately after the activation of the Directive has played a crucial role in ensuring a coordinated response.
The Commission and its Agencies have provided operational supportto the Member States in implementing the Directive. The EU Agency for Asylum is supporting 13 Member States with their asylum, reception and temporary protection needs. Around 200 Frontex staff are deployed to the front-line Member States and Moldova to support their border management. Europol has also deployed staff and guest officers to conduct secondary security checks to five Member States and Moldova. Three EU Civil Protection Mechanism hubs were established in Member States to channel more than 80 000 tons of in-kind assistance to Ukraine.
The EU has also provided a financial support to address the needs of displaced persons. The EU has provided a total of €13.6 billion in additional funding through its CARE and FAST-CARE packages. €1 billion were reprogrammed under the cohesion funds and €400 million were made available under Home Affairs funds.
The EU has also stepped up its cooperation with international partners such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, as well as with relevant international organisations.
The European Union is ready to support Ukraine for as long as it takes. Protection has already been extended until March 2024 and can be further extended until 2025. The Commission is ready to take the necessary steps for further prolongation if needed. At the same time a strong EU coordinated approach will be pursued to ensure a smooth transition to alternative legal statuses that would allow access to rights beyond the maximum duration of temporary protection, and targeted support for persons who, having fled Ukraine, want to go back home.
Based on this year of implementation, the Commission considers that the Temporary Protection Directive should remain part of the toolbox of measures available at EU level. The Commission will work with the co-legislators to make sure the European Union is equipped with the tools it needs in the future and ensure proper articulation with the Commission’s proposal for a Crisis and force majeure Regulation.
On 4 March 2022, just one week after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, the Temporary Protection Directive was activated thanks to the unanimous decision by Member States on a proposal of the Commission. The Solidarity Platform ‘Ukraine’, established by the Commission at the beginning of the war, brings together EU institutions, Member States, Schengen Associated Countries, EU Agencies, international organisations, Ukrainian and Moldovan authorities. It offers an informal and flexible forum for discussion on operational matters to coordinate support on the ground. The exchange of information and collection of accurate data through the EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint Network, work of European Asylum Agencies contributed to swift set up of the Temporary Protection Registration Platform.