World, Russia-Ukraine War

EU must be prepared for millions more Ukrainian refugees: EU commissioner

EU interior ministers agree on immediate measures to host Ukrainian refugees

Agnes Szucs   | 28.03.2022
EU must be prepared for millions more Ukrainian refugees: EU commissioner Ukrainian passport is seen at the registration point organised in the sports hall in Krakow, Poland on March 16, 2022.

BRUSSELS

EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said on Monday that the EU must be prepared that millions more Ukrainian refugees may seek protection in the bloc. 

Speaking at a news conference following an extraordinary meeting of EU interior ministers, Johansson warned that the EU must “develop contingency plans” even if the number of refugees arriving in the EU dropped from the peak of 200,000 to 40,000 people per day.

“We don't know what will happen tomorrow, what will be the next step from (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. We don't know, and we have to be prepared for many more millions that might need to flee from Ukraine,” Johansson noted.

During their meeting, EU interior ministers approved a 10-point plan about “operational needs for the coming days and weeks” to host Ukrainian refugees, she explained.

The bloc will set up a registration platform accessible to all member states’ authorities, containing information on those Ukrainian refugees who were granted temporary protection.

The EU will also establish coordination for transport and information hubs in different countries to help refugees that wish to continue their journey to another EU state.

The European Commission will also develop guidelines for border countries, as well as an index mapping the reception capacity of each state.

The bloc will also directly relocate refugees from Moldova, and work with partners such as Canada, the US, and UK to build pathways for refugees who want to seek protection in those countries.

Under the temporary protection directive, Ukrainian nationals, their family members, and residents of the country are entitled to protection in the EU for at least a year with a possible extension of two years.

The protection scheme grants the right to work, residency, education, social welfare, and medical assistance.

The EU hosts the majority of the 3.87 million Ukrainians who fled the country since Russia launched a war on Ukraine on Feb. 24.

According to the UN, over 2.3 million Ukrainians entered the bloc via Poland, 596,000 via Romania, 354,000 via Hungary, and 275,000 via Slovakia.

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