Since the start of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine on 24 February, more than 3 million people have fled the country, with UN estimates suggesting that more than half of them are children. To respond to this unprecedented situation, the EU agreed in record time to activate the Temporary Protection Directive to help people fleeing war in Ukraine. The Directive became immediately applicable on 4 March and now offers immediate protection and a clear legal status to millions of people.
Today, the Commission is presenting operational guidelines to support Member States in applying the Directive. The comprehensive guidelines will help those arriving to have a consistent and effective level of rights and the Member States to assume their new responsibilities.
Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas said: “The unprecedented decision to grant immediate protection to all those who call Ukraine their home is now being translated into practice. To help make this process as smooth as possible, the Commission is supporting Member States with operational guidance. For example, to ensure people can move around the Union unhindered, we clarify that they should be able to receive 15 day visas at the border and that in any case carriers should not be fined for transporting them without documentation. One of the biggest concerns now is the number of children arriving unaccompanied who need to be registered and given specialised care.”
Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson said: “In a matter of days, 3 million people crossed into the EU. The show of solidarity has been immense and the reaction of the authorities impressive; but real challenges exist to ensure national systems do not become overwhelmed and that people enjoy the protection they deserve. Based on questions from Member States, we are proposing the following operational guidelines which we will regularly update to make sure the Commission supports Member States every step of the way – from arrival to integration.”
Operational guidelines are available on European Commission website.
On 4 March 2022, following the Commission’s proposal the previous day, the Council unanimously adopted the implementing decision introducing temporary protection for people fleeing war in Ukraine. After this decision, the Commission received a clear demand for further information and launched a webpage to inform and support those fleeing war when arriving in the EU.
To coordinate operational support for Member States of first entry, the Commission has been convening meetings on the situation in Ukraine as part of the EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint. Alongside this Network, a ‘Solidarity Platform’ coordinated by the Commission is collecting and examining Member States’ needs in order to provide an operational response. These guidelines will also complement the existing Guidelines for external border management to facilitate border crossings at the EU-Ukraine borders.
For More Information
Operational Guidelines for the implementation of Council implementing Decision introducing temporary protection