The Council of the EU extended temporary protection for over 4 million Ukrainian refugees living on the territory of the member countries from March 4, 2024, to March 4, 2025, the Council announced on Sept. 28.
"The EU will support the Ukrainian people for as long as it takes," Spanish acting Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska Gomez said.
"The prolongation of the protection status offers certainty to the more than 4 million refugees who have found a safe haven in the EU."
The EU-instituted system provides immediate and collective protection to refugees without the need for examination of individual cases.
It aims to alleviate pressure on national asylum systems and ensure refugees' access to residence, labor market, medical assistance, social welfare, and education.
The EU first implemented the measure on March 4, 2022, in response to the Russian full-scale invasion of Ukraine, which drove millions of Ukrainians to seek refuge abroad.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the majority of the displaced Ukrainians plan or hope to return home after the war.