In order to facilitate the arrival on European soil of Ukrainians fleeing their country further to the Russian military invasion, the European authorities activated the European Temporary Protection system on March 3, 2022.
Created in 2001 by Directive 2001/55/EC but never activated until today, the aim of the system is “to establish minimum standards for the granting of temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons”. In addition, it makes it possible to distribute the burden of receiving displaced persons between the different European countries, unlike the asylum system. Indeed, asylum presupposes a request in the European country of arrival, which would represent a massive influx for the states bordering Ukraine (Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania).
The implementing decision of the Council of the EU of March 3, 2022 therefore activates the provisions relating to this protection in all the signatory Member States.
As the Directive has been transposed into national law, the situation of Ukrainians in France today is governed by article L581-1 and following articles of the Foreigners’ Code (CESEDA). Ukrainians seeking temporary protection from France in the context of the current conflict are therefore, practically, invited to go to the prefecture to request the issuance of a temporary residence permit valid for 12 months. The authorization will be renewed within the limit of 3 years, unless the EU Council terminates the mechanism earlier.
The French authorities confirm that this right of residence will be accompanied by access to the labor market, housing, education and social and medical assistance. Unaccompanied minors will also be taken care of.
If some questions persist to this day on the practical methods that the prefectures will adopt to welcome these publics and issue them authorizations quickly, we can only welcome the pre-existence of such a protection framework. The arrival in the EU of displaced persons from Ukraine would have been much more complex if this system had not been created 20 years ago in anticipation of a possible crisis.