EU Unveils Guidelines for Member States on Temporary Protection for Ukrainian Refugees

The European Commission has introduced operational guidelines of the Temporary Protection Directive in a bid to support the EU Member States applying the Directive.

According to a press release issued by the EU Commission, Ukrainian nationals will be able to move freely in the 27-nation-bloc, using a 15-day visa obtained at the border, and secondary Member States do not impose financial penalties on carriers transporting persons enjoying temporary protection, reports.

The new change was announced by the Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, who also pointed out that the decision to grant protections to Ukrainians is being put into practice.

“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 Schinas said.

In other words, the Protection Directive will determine guidelines that regulate Ukrainian refugee’s stay in the EU until the war is over and includes the following key points:

  • Clarification on who is eligible for temporary protection, which can include those who benefited from international protection or other protection in Ukraine before February 24, on or after February 24 and their family members.
  • Applying “adequate protection” under national law – which means that the Member States have to offer fundamental rights for arriving refugees. In addition, determining the type of evidence needed to benefit from temporary protection under national law is required.
  • The encouragement of the Member States to consider extending temporary protection to persons who don’t fall under the scope of application of the decision but who need protection same as those from Ukraine do.
  • Unaccompanied children arriving from Ukraine, which is the current major issue for the EU Member States, should be appointed a legal guardian or other appropriate representation. All children fleeing from the war, regardless of their status, should have full protection and access to education and healthcare.
  • Practising the Directive’s specific rights, meaning that a residence permit should serve as a refugee’s status and should be presented at specific authorities such as employment offices, schools and hospitals. When residence permits are still processed, the Member States will provide the opening of bank accounts and other services.
  • Ensuring free movement before and after issuance of residence permits, essentially allowing the Ukrainian nationals holding biometric passports to be exempted from the requirement of possessing a short-stay visa. In addition, biometric passport holders from Ukraine are able to freely move within the Schengen Area for 90 days within a 180-day-period.

In addition, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said that the EU Member States can handle this situation.

“If we really show the best sides of ourselves in solidarity, we can manage (this challenge),” she said.

According to data published by UNHCR, 3.2 million Ukrainians have left their home country, and most of them reached Poland (1.9 million), Romania (508,692), Moldova (355,426), Hungary (291,230) and Slovakia (234,738).

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