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EU to offer Ukrainians right to stay for up to three years

FILE PHOTO: People sit on the railway after crossing the border between Poland and Ukraine, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Kroscienko, Poland February 27, 2022. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo

According to senior EU and French officials, the European Union is planning to offer Ukrainians fleeing the conflict the ability to stay and work in the 27-nation union for up to three years.

The news: According to them, at least 300,000 Ukrainian refugees have already entered the EU, and the bloc must prepare for millions more. Ukraine shares land borders with EU members Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary.

  • “It is our duty to take in those who flee war,” French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told France 2 TV on Monday, saying EU interior minister had on Sunday tasked the European Commission with preparing draft proposals to grant them protection.
  • On Thursday, the ministers will meet again to finalise the details.

What’s going on: The EU temporary protection regulation, drafted following the Balkan wars of the 1990s but never implemented, guarantees the same degree of protection in all EU countries for one to three years, including a residence permit, access to employment, social assistance, and medical treatment.

  • Most EU ministers supported the move on Sunday, according to EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson, with only a few asking whether now was the right moment to do it or if it was better to wait a little longer.
  • She stated that the issue affects the entire EU. “We already see a lot of Ukrainians leaving the countries of first entry and go to other member states, especially those that have a big Ukrainian population already,” she told a news conference on Sunday. “Poland is one of them but also Italy, Portugal, Spain, Germany, the Czech Republic.”
  • “All EU member states are prepared to accept refugees from Ukraine,” German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said. “This is a strong response by Europe to the terrible suffering that Putin inflicts with his criminal war of aggression: Together, we stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine.”  
  • Janez Lenarcic, the European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, claimed four million Ukrainians are anticipated to exit the country as refugees, citing United Nations estimates.

Women and children are arriving at the border in eastern Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary, as well as northern and northeastern Romania, as men of conscription age are barred from leaving Ukraine.

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