BRUSSELS — The EU has prolonged temporary protection for Ukrainians fleeing from war.
Interior ministers for the European Union on Thursday supported extending measures — triggered in the immediate wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine — until March 2025. They were set to expire in March 2024.
The so-called Temporary Protection Directive allows Ukrainians to move freely across the EU, gives them instant rights to live and work within EU countries, and also offers them access to social service benefits there such as housing and medical care.
Some 4 million Ukrainians have benefited from this directive since the start of the conflict, European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said after the meeting of interior ministers on Thursday. She added that this includes around 750,000 working in Europe, while more than 300,000 are seeking a job through public employment services.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the extension of the directive during her annual State of the Union speech in Strasbourg.
After the meeting on Thursday, Spanish Home Affairs Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska did not rule out considering alternative ways of giving protection to Ukrainians refugees before the directive is renewed in March 2025.
“We very much hope that it’s not going to be necessary … that everybody will be able to return to their county,” Grande-Marlaska added.