Brussels, Mar 3 (EFE).- The European Union agreed on Thursday to activate a never-before-used mechanism to grant temporary protection for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the military invasion by Russian forces.
It is the first time the 27 member states have activated the 2001 EU directive designed to provide immediate relief and protection to war refugees.
“A historic agreement has been reached between EU interior ministers. The European Union will grant temporary protection to those fleeing war in Ukraine,” France’s minister of interior, Gérald Darmanin, wrote on Twitter.
The decision comes as the United Nations said one million Ukrainians had crossed the border into neighboring countries since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began one week ago.
Under the temporary protective directive, Ukrainian refugees will be given residency permits in any EU country for at least a year and extendable to up to three years.
They will also be granted working permits, housing and medical and social assistance.
“The EU stands united to save lives,” European Commissioner for home affairs, Ylva Johansson, tweeted.
Member states had given the green light to the legislation after the Balkan wars and the break up of former Yugoslavia but had never activated it until now. EFE