EU ministers extend temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees until 2026

European Union member states will extend temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees by one year until 4 March 2026. That decided the countries’ asylum and migration ministers at a meeting in Luxembourg yesterday/Thursday.

“The ministers today showed renewed solidarity and decided to continue offering protection to Ukrainians in the EU," declared Belgian state secretary for asylum and migration Nicole de Moor, on behalf of the Belgian EU presidency. “As long as bombs are falling in Ukraine, the situation there is not safe.”

Shortly after the Russian invasion in February 2022, the 27 EU member states unanimously decided to activate the directive on temporary protection. Ukrainian refugees thus did not have to go through the traditional asylum procedures and were immediately granted residence rights and access to housing, social assistance, healthcare, the labour market and education.

Since then, this special form of protection has been extended several times. The current regime expires on 4 March 2025.

Currently, 4.2 million Ukrainians enjoy temporary protection in the European Union. In Belgium, 83,226 temporary protection documents have been granted to Ukrainians. 60,996 of these persons are registered in the national register and thus still residing in Belgium.

Ukrainian refugees taking part in a protest © BELGA PHOTO Daniel MIHAILESCU / AFP

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