EU ministers examine protection plans for Ukrainian war refugees

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EU justice and home affairs ministers will examine plans to extend emergency rules to include shelter for people fleeing war in Ukraine until at least March 2026, during two days of meetings in Luxembourg starting Thursday.

Ukrainians who fled to the European Union after Russia’s large-scale invasion of their country in 2022 were given immediate protection after EU member states set up a temporary regime designed for cases of mass influx of people.

The proposal aims to avoid the lengthy national asylum procedures required to process large numbers of displaced persons. Extensions of the temporary rules are possible for a maximum of one year.

In addition, people under temporary protection are entitled to social benefits, housing, access to education and work permits, among other things.

The existing regime was due to expire in March 2025. The European Commission announced the planned extension on Tuesday.

The commission reported that almost 4.2 million Ukrainians are currently living in the EU under these rules, while Germany is hosting the most people with 1.2 million.

EU justice and home affairs ministers will also examine a commission strategy to roll out controversial new migration and asylum rules in the EU.

The commission’s strategy is to help the bloc’s countries implement the justice system by mid-2026.

A key part of the commission’s plan is a large IT system called Eurodac, which would store and process asylum seeker data to better monitor asylum seekers between EU countries.

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