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EU Council extends protection for Ukrainian refugees until 2026

With the extension of the temporary protection directive, Ukrainian refugees will continue to legally stay in EU countries and access basic social services.
Ukrainian refugees
Ukrainian refugees. Photo source: Fotoreserg DepositPhotos
EU Council extends protection for Ukrainian refugees until 2026

The EU Council has extended temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees until 4 March 2026.

Those who fled from Russian aggression can continue to rely on EU solidarity as each day, Russia terrorizes the Ukrainian people with bombings, stated Nicole de Moor, Belgian State Secretary for Asylum and Migration.

The temporary protection mechanism was launched in 2022 and was supposed to be in effect until 2025.
The EU Council extended it the same day the bloc officially opened membership talks with Ukraine.

Still, substantive negotiations will begin only after the country implements the necessary reforms to align with EU legislation. Ukraine applied for EU membership shortly following Russia’s invasion in February 2022.

According to the EU Council, today’s decision to extend protection does not change the categories of people to whom it applies.

After the start of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the EU enabled the so-called EU Temporary Protection Directive, which granted Ukrainian refugees the right to legally stay in EU countries and enjoy basic social protection, including the right to residence, medical care, education, and employment.

The EU Commission said that nearly 4.2 million displaced individuals from Ukraine are currently staying in the EU under a temporary protection mechanism, one-third of whom are children.

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