Monday

16th May 2022

EU: Ukrainians hesitating to register for protection

  • Medyka crossing point on the Polish Ukraine border (Photo: Nikolaj Nielsen)
Listen to article

A large number of Ukrainian refugees are hesitating to register for EU protection, says the European Commission.

Speaking to European lawmakers on Thursday (12 May), senior commission official Beate Gminder said that many of those hesitations are based on false assumptions.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Some think they cannot register once their 90 day visa-free entry into the EU expires. Others believe they cannot return to the EU and still obtain the benefits of protection if they go to Ukraine after registration.

Both instances are incorrect, she said.

"Let's be very clear, even if the 90 days are over, people still enjoy temporary protection here. They're not illegally in the EU," she said.

Gminder said others also don't register because they return to Ukraine within their 90 day visa free-entry into the EU.

Over five million Ukrainians have fled into the EU since the war started just two-and-a-half months ago, in late February. Of those, around 2.7 million have registered for temporary protection as of 8 May throughout the EU, plus Norway and Switzerland.

A breakdown of those figures by member states has yet to be centralised.

The European Commission says it does not have them. And the Malta-based European Union Agency for Asylum (EUAA) says it cannot issue the figures.

"We are working on changing this as we are very aware that there is a lot of interest," an EUAA spokesperson said last week.

On Wednesday, its director Nina Gregori in a tweet said 19,000 Ukrainians had registered in Romania. She also noted Greece had registered 11,000.

Earlier this year Hungary was accused of making misleading statements on its figures.

Although over half a million had arrived by late March, only 7,749 had registered for protection in the country at that time, according to findings by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a human rights NGO.

Around 1.6 million have also returned to the country since the start of the war, as of 9 May.

Gminder said around a third of those return because they want to reunite with their families back home, including elderly parents or husbands who were not allowed to leave.

Another one-third returned because they believe it is safe in their region. The remainder, or 40 percent, go back and forth to Ukraine and an EU member state, she said.

Ukrainian nationals have also lodged about 20,300 applications for international protection in the EU since the start of the war.

Feature

Hungary sets dogs on non-Ukrainian refugees

Orbán's government is still beating up and pushing back non-Ukrainian migrants, including one Lebanese man who fled the Ukrainian war zone to Europe.

Opinion

Using migrants to do Greece's dirty work

Human Rights Watch refugee programme director reflects on 14 years of progress in Greece's treatment of migrants — and finds things have gone backwards.

News in Brief

  1. McDonald's to sell up and exit Russia
  2. Nordic nations to help Sweden and Finland if attacked
  3. Germany to reject EU green label for nuclear
  4. Afghans and Syrians using Western Balkans to enter EU
  5. Putin: Russia will respond if Nato bolsters Sweden and Finland
  6. British PM urges Northern Irish parties to work together
  7. EU-US pledge to counter Russian propaganda in Ukraine
  8. EU greenhouse-gas emissions rebound to pre-pandemic levels 

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  3. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  4. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersHuge support for Ukraine
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBWorkers want EC to limit subcontracting chains in construction

Latest News

  1. EU countries rush to expand gas import capacity
  2. MEPs call to speed up curbs on toxic 'forever chemicals'
  3. Russia's war stifles EU pandemic recovery
  4. Sweden and Finland Nato decision is right for Baltic
  5. Sweden to join Finland in applying for Nato
  6. Russia sanctions and energy dominate Next WEEK
  7. Will 'Putin's Nato' follow Warsaw Pact into obscurity?
  8. EU reaches deal on flagship cybersecurity law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us