Ukrainian refugees: EU ministers extend temporary protection until March 2026

European Union foreign ministers adopted a decision on June 25 to extend the temporary protection until March 4 2026 for the more than four million Ukrainians fleeing from Russia’s war of aggression, a statement by the Council of the EU said.

The temporary protection mechanism was triggered on March 4 2022 – only a few days after Russian armed forces launched a large-scale invasion of Ukraine – and was due to run until March 4 2025.

The extension decision that was adopted today does not change the decision of March 2022 in terms of the categories of persons to whom the temporary protection applies, the statement said.

Temporary protection provides immediate and collective protection to a large group of displaced persons who arrive in the EU and who are not in a position to return to their country of origin.

The system alleviates the pressure on national asylum systems because applications do not have to be examined individually. People benefitting from temporary protection enjoy the same rights across the EU.

These rights include residence, access to the labour market and housing, medical assistance, social welfare assistance and access to education for children.

The EU’s temporary protection law sets minimum standards of protection. The actual level of assistance can vary from one EU member state to another.

According to their national procedures, EU member states may have to adopt additional implementation acts to formalise the prolongation, the statement said.

(Archive photo, from March 2022: UNHCR/ Chris Melzer)

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