Migration and Integration Network: EU member states must plan safe and stable future for Ukrainian refugees

Migration and Integration Network: EU member states must plan safe and stable future for Ukrainian refugees

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, S&D Group Vice-President MEP Heléne Fritzon, chair of the European Parliament LIBE Committee MEP Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar, PES Member of the Committee of the Regions’ Working Group on Ukraine, Stavros Stavrinides, and others met online to discuss Europe’s response to the refugee crisis caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Co-chair of the PES Migration and Integration Network, Swedish MP Carina Ohlsson from SAP, said:

“It is important to continue and build on the solidarity and cooperation shown when this humanitarian crisis erupted. It is clear longer-term plans must urgently be put in place to protect, relocate and integrate refugees in Europe. It is now more important than ever to progress the Pact on Migration and Asylum proposed by Commissioner Johansson.

“All the good work of the last weeks will be undermined if children, women, and other vulnerable people fall into exploitation, abuse and human trafficking here in Europe. We must guard against this and provide protection, care and support, also in the long term. This means swift inclusion, safe and suitable housing, and quick access to education and healthcare, including psychosocial care. The S&D Group is calling for a Child Protection Package and this must be seriously considered.

“Through the Temporary Protection Directive, the Solidarity Platform, financial support and other actions, Commissioner Johansson is already pushing for a safe and stable future for refugees. We welcome this and call on all member states to share responsibility and to make maximum use of the tools and resources available. The lives of Ukrainian refugees depend on it.”

European Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson said:

“The refugee crisis is the biggest we have seen since WWII, but I’m proud to be European and to see how we are managing this crisis together. We see enormous solidarity from citizens, local authorities, civil society organisations and member states.

“We have managed to activate the Temporary Protection Directive with a unanimous decision in the EU Council, thanks to very intense work with all member states. This is a very important decision giving immediate protection, at the same level in all member states, to those fleeing the war. The EU has already given protection to 3.8 million people; especially the neighbouring countries are doing tremendous work welcoming people from Ukraine.”

The meeting welcomed the 10-point plan outlined yesterday by Commissioner Johansson to better coordinate Europe’s response. It builds on strong action already undertaken, such as the Temporary Protection Directive – activated by the Commissioner in record speed, and the Solidarity Platform – where Member States can exchange information about reception capacity. The Network also welcomed the Cohesion’s Action for Refugees in Europe (CARE) package put forward by PES Commissioners Elisa Ferreira and Nicolas Schmit, and the €10 billion made available under the Recovery Assistance for Cohesion and the Territories of Europe (REACT-EU).

MEP Helene Fritzon held an exchange with the Network on S&D proposals for a Child Protection Package to strengthen children’s rights and introduce emergency relief essentials, like shelter and basic healthcare for children fleeing the war.

Participants further commended the regions and cities across Europe that are mobilising to help refugees and welcomed the efforts of the PES Group in the Committee of the Regions to promote the best practice of its members, cities and regions.