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Migration and Home Affairs

Migration management: Welcoming refugees from Ukraine

This information is also available in : Ukrainian | українська | Russian | русский

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Following Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the EU responded rapidly and showed solidarity in action by helping people in need. This included direct humanitarian aid, emergency civil protection assistance, support at the border, as well as granting protection to those fleeing the war and entering the EU.

For the first time in its history, the European Union activated the Temporary Protection Directive setting the legal rules to help manage the mass arrival of people. In parallel, the European Commission quickly began to coordinate with EU countries to gather information about the situation on the ground and to prevent trafficking in human beings.

DG HOME coordinates the Solidarity Platform, which brings together EU countries, international partners, and EU agencies to ensure the implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive. The EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint collects important information, such as the arrivals of refugees, to properly stir migration management response.

Temporary protection

Drawing from past experience in managing migration, it soon became clear that EU countries would not have appropriate capacity to process asylum applications lodged by the high number of people fleeing the war.

That is why on 2 March 2022, the Commission proposed to activate the Temporary Protection Directive, which was then adopted by the European Council on 4 March 2022 through the Decision to grant those fleeing the war in Ukraine temporary protection.

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Practical information for people fleeing the war and arriving to the EU

All the key information for those fleeing the war is centralised on the information webpage. There, people can find practical information in English, Ukrainian and Russian about their rights concerning:

  • temporary protection
  • travel within the EU
  • access to housing, health care, education and jobs

People can also find the hotlines and the contact points of national authorities and practical information about the key organisations in the EU helping those fleeing the war.

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The webpage: Information for people fleeing the war in Ukraine

Phone helpline for those fleeing the war in Ukraine

The European Commission launched a phone helpline for people displaced from Ukraine. The helpline can be contacted in Ukrainian and Russian within the EU at 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11, as well as from outside the EU at +32 22 99 96 96.

Solidarity Platform

The Solidarity Platform has been set up to ensure the provisions of the Temporary Protection Directive in close collaboration with all parties mentioned below. Its role is to monitor the needs identified in EU countries and coordinate an operational response. The Solidarity Platform also provides a general forum for discussion to support the implementation of the 10-Point Plan presented by the Commission after the Extraordinary Justice and Home Affairs Council of 28 March 2022. The Solidarity Platform continues to prove its added value in the overall coordination of the EU response to the Russian aggression against Ukraine, by offering an informal space, usually an online meeting area, for the quick alignment of operational and policy responses by the key stakeholders.

The Solidarity Platform, coordinated by DG HOME, brings together:

  • EU countries
  • Schengen Associated States
  • EU Agencies (in particular, EU Agency for Asylum, Frontex and Europol)
  • IOM, UNHCR and other partners, including civil society organisations in specific meeting formats
  • Ukrainian authorities
  • International partners

The Platform meets on a regular basis alongside the Council’s Integrated Political Crisis Response (IPCR) as well as the EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Management Network (the Blueprint).

Cooperation with international partners plays a key role. The EU’s partners such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom are engaged in the Solidarity Platform meetings dedicated to international cooperation.

In addition, the involvement of the Ukrainian authorities in Ukraine, the Ukrainian embassies and consulates in the EU Member States is of great importance. The Solidarity Platform engages regularly with Ukrainian authorities to assess the needs and address potential challenges experienced by Ukrainian citizens in the EU.

The European Commission also regularly engages with civil society organisations through the Solidarity Platform but also in bilateral meetings and on the ground through EU staff in respective Member States.

Objectives and actions of the Solidarity Platform

  • Provide a general forum for discussion and action to support the implementation of the 10-Point plan for a stronger coordination and exchange of best practices on welcoming the people fleeing Russia's invasion of Ukraine
  • Collect relevant information on reception and accommodation capacity in EU countries
  • Coordinate matching offers from EU countries to accept people fleeing war in Ukraine who have already arrived in the EU
  • Coordinate the transfer of persons from Moldova to EU countries and Schengen Associated Member States
  • Facilitate and make use of relevant EU instruments

Priorities and agenda items are defined by the Commission in close collaboration with Member States and other stakeholders such as the Ukrainian authorities to ensure discussions based on needs.

Given the concrete and operational nature of some issues discussed, several sub-groups of the Solidarity Platform have been established, which are convened on a regular or ad-hoc basis. These include for instance a sub-group on the transfers of displaced persons from Moldova or a sub-group on the Temporary Protection Platform.

Since its establishment on 4 March 2022 with a Council Implementing Decision, the Solidarity Platform achieved concrete results in managing migration across several actions delivering on the 10-Point Plan set out below. On 8 March 2023, one year following its activation, a Communication took stock of the implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive in the context of the war in Ukraine and identified priority areas for the future, including through the work of the Solidarity Platform.

Overview of the meetings of the Solidarity Platform on Ukraine

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Delivering on the 10-Point Plan

The Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Commission has coordinated the EU response through the EU Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint.

The Migration Preparedness and Crisis Blueprint provides an operational framework to ensure:

  • situational awareness and better preparedness,
  • effective governance and timely response.

The Blueprint has been actively involved in gathering and reporting latest developments with EU Member States and Agencies. Information is collected and disseminated for better management of migration.

Border management

To help border guards of EU countries manage arrivals at the borders with Ukraine efficiently, while reducing the waiting time, but still maintaining a high level of security, on 2 March 2022 the Commission issued guidelines on external border management. The guidelines include provisions on:

  • simplification of border controls at the EU's borders with Ukraine
  • flexibility regarding entry conditions
  • allowing crossings at temporary border crossing points, outside official border crossing points
  • easy access for rescue services and humanitarian assistance
  • personal belongings and pets

The guidelines strongly recommend EU countries to make use of the support of EU Agencies – with Frontex able to assist with the identification and registration of the people arriving, and Europol available to deploy officers supporting EU countries with secondary checks.

EU Agencies playing a key role on the ground

EU Agencies play a key role in assisting EU countries on the ground with border management, information-sharing, asylum registrations and preventing criminal networks from taking advantage of vulnerable people.

Timeline

  1. 28 September 2023
    Extension of temporary protection agreed

    The Council agreed to extend the temporary protection for people fleeing from Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine until March 2025.

  2. 19 September 2023
    Commission’s proposal to extend temporary protection until March 2025

    The European Commission proposed to further extend the temporary protection for people fleeing Russia's aggression against Ukraine from 4 March 2024 to 3 March 2025. This will provide certainty and support for more than 4 million persons enjoying protection across the EU.

  3. 8 March 2023
    One year of temporary protection for people fleeing Russian aggression against Ukraine

    The European Commission adopted the Communication on Temporary Protection Directive. The Temporary Protection Directive has proven to be an essential instrument to provide immediate protection in the EU and it should remain part of the toolbox available to the European Union in the future.

  4. 10 October 2022
    Launch of EU Talent Pool Pilot

    The European Commission launches the EU Talent Pool Pilot, a platform to facilitate labour integration of people fleeing the war in Ukraine and registered for Temporary Protection in EU countries.

  5. 30 September 2022
    EU coordinated approach on visa issuance and border controls for Russians

    Following the announcement of Russian military mobilisation and increased security concerns for Europe, the Commission updates the guidelines on general visa issuance and releases new ones on controls of Russian citizens at the external borders. 

  6. 9 September 2022
    EU fully suspends the Visa Facilitation Agreement with Russia. Commission presents new guidelines for visa issuance to Russian citizens

    EU fully suspends the EU-Russia Visa Facilitation agreement, following war escalations. That means  lengthier procedures and higher security scrutiny for Russian visa applicants. In the same day, the Commission released guidelines to EU countries and their consulates on the issuance of visas for Russian citizens. 

  7. 11 July 2022
    EU Support Hub for Internal Security and Border Management in Moldova

    Together with Moldovan authorities, the European Commission set up the EU Support Hub in Chișinău, Moldova, to support cooperation between the Commission, EU Agencies, EU countries and Moldova in the area of internal security and border management.

  8. 6 July 2022
    Safe Homes Guidance

    Members of the Solidarity Platform endorsed the Safe Homes Guidance. It shares advice for EU countries how to provide safe and suitable accommodation for people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

  9. 31 May 2022
    Temporary Protection Platform

    The European Commission launches the Temporary Protection Platform for registration, where EU countries exchange information on people who registered for temporary protection.

  10. 16 May 2022
    Phone helpline

    The European Commission launches a phone helpline for people displaced from Ukraine in Ukrainian and Russian language.

  11. 11 May 2022
    Common Anti-Trafficking Plan

    The EU Anti-Trafficking Coordinator developed a Common Anti-Trafficking Plan to address the risks of trafficking in human beings and support potential victims.

  12. 28 March 2022
    10-Point Plan for stronger EU coordination

    The Commission presents a 10-Point Plan for a stronger European coordination on welcoming people fleeing the war against Ukraine.

  13. 23 March 2022
    Commission Communication on welcoming people fleeing the war in Ukraine

    The Commission releases a communication titled “Welcoming those fleeing war in Ukraine: Readying Europe to meet the needs” outlining how to manage the current refugee situation.

  14. 21 March 2022
    Guidelines on the use of the Temporary Protection Directive

    The Commission issues Operational guidelines for EU countries on how to best implement the rules on temporary protection for people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

  15. 17 March 2022
    Agreement with Moldova and Frontex cooperation

    The EU and Moldova sign an agreement on border cooperation management with Frontex.

  16. 8 March 2022
    Commission Communication on European solidarity with refugees and those fleeing war in Ukraine

    The Commission releases a communication titled “European solidarity with refugees and those fleeing war in Ukraine” outlining how to manage the current refugee situation.

  17. 4 March 2022
    Adoption of the Temporary Protection Directive

    The EU Council adopts the Council Implementing Decision to grant temporary protection to those fleeing the war in Ukraine. With this Decision the Council also established the Solidarity Platform.

  18. 2 March 2022
    Proposal to activate the Temporary Protection Directive and Operational guidelines on external border management

    The Commission proposes to EU countries to activate the Temporary Protection Directive and issues Operational guidelines for external border management to facilitate border crossings at the EU-Ukraine borders.