EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson promised refugees from Ukraine willing to return that they would be able to return to the EU at any time during the Russian war against their home country. “You are always welcome back in the EU,” said the Swede on Tuesday during a visit to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv. “We will always stand by with an open heart to accommodate Ukrainians in need.”
The 27 EU countries decided shortly after the start of the Ukraine war in early March to offer all Ukrainians protection quickly and unbureaucratically. They are allowed to move and work freely in the EU. She also has a right to health care, housing and education for her children. According to the UN refugee agency, more than 3.7 million Ukrainians applied for this or a similar status. In total, more than six million people have fled Ukraine to other European countries.
Johansson said on Tuesday that while traveling to Kyiv, she saw a long line of Ukrainians with children and luggage at the train station on the Polish-Ukrainian border wanting to return home. “It is a great step forward that so many Ukrainians are deciding to return home and rebuild Ukraine.” At the same time, people could return to the EU at any time. Ukrainians traveling to Ukraine permanently should opt out of temporary protection status. But when your own country is at war, nobody knows what is permanent. That is why people are always welcome back in the EU and can register again for temporary protection.