EU agrees on protection plan for Ukraine refugees

The EU interior ministers have agreed on the non-bureaucratic admission of refugees from Ukraine. The protection status, initially valid for one year and renewable for up to three years, has yet to be approved by the Council of the European Union. Commentators see a change in European refugee policy and ask what status non-Ukrainians fleeing Ukraine will be granted.

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Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Humanitarianism must apply to all

Emergency aid for the needy must not be a question of nationality or skin colour, the Süddeutsche Zeitung insists:

“The growing number of reports about how refugees of other nationalities living in Ukraine are being discriminated against at the border shows: the humanitarian idea, which must be the cornerstone of European action, apparently still does not apply to everyone. The crucial question in refugee policy should always be: 'Are you in need?' It was - and is - far too often: 'Where are your parents from?' The refugees still stuck in Moria know this.”

Der Standard (AT) /

A wonderous turnaround

Der Standard shows some understanding for the fact that Europe’s doors and hearts are opening faster for its immediate neighbours:

“Here they are met with a generous willingness to take them in, state and private reception committees, aid facilities and information services. In short, a welcome culture that stands in stark contrast to the leaden years of isolationist policies since 2016. But how can we explain that our support for Europeans in need quite obviously obeys different rules to the help non-European arrivals receive? ... It simply has to do with proximity. When it comes to refugee movements, the people in the neighbouring countries generally feel they are also affected and open their doors and hearts.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

EU accession has already begun

The swift and uncomplicated reception of the refugees marks the first step towards Ukraine's EU accession, La Repubblica comments jubilantly:

“Didn't Ukraine already enter Europe a few days ago through the steps of those who fled the bombed cities, crossed the country's borders and made their way to Poland, and from there onward to Germany and Italy? ... Ukraine's future membership of the institutional, political, economic and cultural space of the Union will depend to a significant degree on how those who fled the Russian invasion are taken in in democratic Europe today.”