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S&Ds on protection of refugees fleeing Ukraine: "We must ensure access to education, health and work"

Date

24 Mar 2022

Sections

Justice & Home Affairs

The S&D Group welcomes the European Commission’s new guidance to Member States on how to support refugees from Ukraine so that they will have access to education, housing, the labour market and health services. The Temporary Protection Directive, which received the unanimous backing of EU governments, provides for these support measures for refugees. Member States are responsible for applying the protection measures and ensuring the support is provided.

Birgit Sippel, S&D spokesperson for home affairs, said:

“The current European agenda is about solidarity with the Ukrainian people and the people arriving in the European Union. The new guidelines from the EU Commission are appropriate and urgent. Immediate access to Member States' social systems is crucial, especially for particularly vulnerable people or persons in need of health care, The Commission and EU agencies, in particular the new EU Asylum Agency, can help with logistical support on the ground and assist Member States in providing the necessary infrastructure for the distribution and registration of people.

“Our Group has called on the Commission to implement a special protection mechanism for children from Ukraine that respects their rights and focuses on their specific needs. This also applies to unaccompanied minors. The European Union must now use all its available instruments and go further by putting emergency measures in place - this is our legal responsibility towards those in need of protection. Even if special efforts are needed at this time, Member States and the Commission must always provide special protection for all minors, who have had to flee their home.

“This requires, above all, the willingness of the Member States. Everyone will have to do their share and take responsibility, especially in terms of reception and accommodation of the refugees.

“There is absolutely no place for discrimination between refugees in Europe. There have been worrying reports this week that only Ukrainian citizens are receiving support in some Member States. Parliament is urgently voting this week to ensure that a significant level of additional funding is made available to support refugees and we expect governments to make use of these funds to help all refugees coming from Ukraine, no matter where they come from or the colour of their skin.”

Note to editors

The European Parliament will vote tomorrow (Thursday) to adapt the Asylum and Migration Fund (AMIF). This will extend the implementation phase of the 2014-20 AMIF by one year to 2024, remove earmarking for funds not yet used and introduce the possibility for Member States, as well as public and private donors, to contribute additional funds to the 2021-27 AMIF.

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