News Item

Ways to better support people fleeing the war in Ukraine locally

Hands crossing in Ukrainian colours
Alexandra Koch/ Pixabay
Longer-term plans, better information and administrative flexibility would support local authorities providing people who fled the war in Ukraine improved access to housing, education, jobs and healthcare in the EU, finds an EU Agency of Fundamental Rights (FRA) report. It examines how authorities responded to the first-ever activation of the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive. It identifies good practices and suggests how authorities can tackle the many shared challenges they face.

Some 3.9 million people registered for support in EU countries within one year of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Many have begun to build a new life in their host country and enrich Europe’s societies in new ways.

Local authorities acted quickly. They took the lead in ensuring access to the rights guaranteed to the people fleeing Ukraine under the EU’s first-ever activation of the Temporary Protection Directive. But despite offering tremendous support, they often struggled to ensure that people could benefit from these rights.

The ‘Fleeing Ukraine: Implementing temporary protection at local levels’ report. It also suggests areas for improvement for national and local authorities:

  • Longer-term planning: the EU has extended protection until March 2025 so longer-term solutions are needed to help people better integrate in their host countries and to ensure full access to their rights.
  • Better coordination: exchanging information promptly would allow authorities better plan and cater to the needs of those who fled.
  • Data collection: systematic data collection about beneficiaries would improve plans for meeting municipal housing needs, and places in schools and childcare.
  • Specific needs: a wider interpretation of specific needs would ensure everyone, like people with disabilities, receives support.
  • Longer-term housing: repurposing public facilities and working more with the private sector are examples of practical solutions that would meet longer-term housing needs.
  • Private housing safeguards: systematically vetting private housing would rule out any safety concerns.
  • Rapid access to education: ensuring children can quickly access schooling and childcare would allow pupils from Ukraine resume their education.
  • Ukrainian schooling: adjusting schooling would ensure pupils are not overburdened by having to also take online education from Ukraine and align their classes  with Ukrainian schooling.
  • Employment barriers: offering language courses, affordable childcare, recognising qualifications from abroad and residence permits would remove the barriers that prevent temporary protection workers from finding work.
  • Job centres: employment would improve by encouraging temporary protection job seekers to go to local job centres which should in turn offer tailored and targeted assistance.
  • Access to healthcare: informing patients and health providers about healthcare rights, including making interpreters available, would improve access to healthcare.

The report covers 26 cities and regional authorities in Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Sweden. It looks at practices between November 2022 and March 2023.

It complements results from FRA’s survey on people displaced from Ukraine.