The European Union officially extended temporary protections for Ukrainian refugees in EU countries until March 2025, the European Council announced on Oct. 19.
While EU ministers agreed to the extension on Sept. 27, the council adopted the plan on Oct. 19.
The EU's Temporary Protection Directive offers immediate collective protections to displaced persons, and was designed as an alternative to the asylum process. It was first implemented in 2001, following armed conflicts in the Balkan states.
The EU once again activated the Temporary Protection Directive in March 2022, after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
The temporary protections allow Ukrainian refugees to access housing, find work, and receive social benefits in EU countries.
The EU estimates that 4.1 million Ukrainians are currently registered for temporary protections.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the majority of the displaced Ukrainians plan or hope to return home after the war.