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MPs support extension of EU's Ukrainian refugee temporary protection policy

Tallink's passenger ferry M/S Isabelle will act as temporary accommodation for refugees fleeing war in Ukraine.
Tallink's passenger ferry M/S Isabelle will act as temporary accommodation for refugees fleeing war in Ukraine. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Riigikogu members on Monday agreed to support the extension of the European Union's temporary protection policy for Ukrainian refugees for another year.

Estonia supports the implementation of the policy until 2025, the Riigikogu's European Union Affairs Committee said in a statement. The policy will cost €1.6 million.

Chairman Liisa Pakosta (Eesti 200) said continued support is necessary as many homes and workplaces in Ukraine have been destroyed and civilians are still being murdered.

"Many people are unable to return home because their home no longer exists or they have to run to a shelter at night. The Riigikogu decided to extend the granting of temporary protection to Ukrainian war refugees – this allows each Ukrainian family to decide for themselves whether they continue to need temporary protection and when they can return home, because first new homes, workplaces, or even whole new settlements have to be built," she said.

Maria Jufereva-Skuratovski (Center), vice-chairman, said Ukraine's priority is fighting for its territory and freedom. 

"Currently, Ukrainian war refugees have nowhere to return to. When that time comes, of course, we are ready to offer support," she said, adding extensive reconstruction work still needs to be carried out.

MPs added the policy can be further extended in the future but it must be agreed upon by all EU member states.

The committee members confirmed Estonia's position in preparation for the EU's Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on Thursday.

EKRE members abstained from the vote, saying deserters should be dealt with separately.

After Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the European Council adopted the directive giving those fleeing war in Ukraine the right to temporary protection.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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