The flow of Ukrainian refugees into Europe at the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion revealed the EU’s capacity to take in large numbers of refugees and also showed the benefits of a humane approach to migrants.

Ukrainians standing in line at passport control after arriving in the evening train from Ukraine to Przemysl railway station Image by picture alliance / NurPhoto | Artur Widak©

At the same time, this was in stark contrast to the reaction to the migration of citizens from other countries.

This was reported by the author of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

So, why Ukrainian refugees were called useful for Europe and what lessons and conclusions can be drawn from the EU’s reaction to migration from Ukraine, we understand further in the material.
EU reaction to refugees from Ukraine and other countries:
According to the author, Europe’s reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine was united, fast and massive. In particular, it is about the approach to accepting Ukrainian refugees:
“Ten days after the invasion, the EU unanimously adopted a new law to grant temporary protection to Ukrainian nationals fleeing the country, activating the Temporary Protection Directive for the first time since its adoption in 2001. To be registered under the protection scheme, Ukrainian asylum seekers need only show an ID card or passport,” the author writes.

At the same time, the flow of refugees from other countries is starting to grow again, but migrants must undergo strict procedures and checks at the EU’s external borders, particularly to establish their right to enter. Border guards can keep refugees in detention for up to 6 months and then turn them back and not allow them across the border.
The author therefore believes that the response to the flow of refugees from Ukraine contains important lessons for the EU government and demonstrates the benefits of a humane approach to accepting refugees. So, what lessons are we talking about?

Europe can accept a large number of refugees

In about a year and a half, EU countries have taken in about 6 million refugees from Ukraine. The largest number of Ukrainians was sheltered by Poland, which started preparing to receive refugees even before the Russian invasion started due to the increased level of tension on the Ukrainian-Russian border. Thus, Poland provided temporary protection to 1.5 million Ukrainians. In second place is Germany, which accepted 960 thousand refugees. The third and fourth places are occupied by Italy and Spain, which provided temporary protection to ~186 thousand Ukrainians.
In addition, refugees from Ukraine were given the opportunity to enter the EU without lengthy checks and then find accommodation and employment. That is, the first lesson shows that Europe can mobilise and accommodate large numbers of refugees if necessary.
Work permits for refugees are also beneficial for the country hosting the migrants.

Temporary protection gives Ukrainians the right to legal employment, and already a year after the full-scale invasion began, about 40 per cent of refugees from Ukraine were working in Europe.
This benefits not only the migrants themselves as they integrate into new communities, but also benefits the host country. For example, according to the European Commission, 13% of key workers in the EU in 2020 (during the Covid-19 pandemic) were migrants. Furthermore, refugees have accounted for 70% of the growth in the European labour force over the past 10 years and pay more in taxes and social contributions than they receive in benefits.
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