European Commission proposes extension of temporary protection for people fleeing Ukraine

The European Commission proposed on Tuesday an additional extension of the temporary protection for people fleeing Ukraine, according to a statement by the commission. 

The proposed extension from March 4, 2024 to March 3, 2025 "will provide certainty and support for more than 4 million persons enjoying protection across the EU," the commission said. The EU activated a Temporary Protection Directive in March 2022 and member states unanimously agreed to automatically extend it by one year.

"The Commission considers that the reasons for temporary protection persist and that the temporary protection should therefore be prolonged as a necessary and appropriate response to the current, volatile situation, which is not yet conducive to the safe and durable return of those enjoying temporary protection in the EU," it said. 

Since the activation of the temporary protection, which happened only a week after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, member states "showed unprecedented solidarity with Ukrainian people, not only by welcoming them in their countries, but also by making concrete efforts to facilitate their inclusion in society," the commission said. 

The commission's proposal will now have to be adopted by the European Council.

The temporary protection directive provides "immediate protection and access to rights in the EU, including residency rights, access to the labor market, housing, social welfare assistance, medical and other assistance," the commission said. 

The so-called Solidarity Platform with Ukraine, which was established by the commission at the beginning of the war, helps coordinate operational matters and support on the ground between EU institutions, EU member states and Schengen-associated countries, as well as international organizations and Ukrainian authorities. 

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