Ukraine comments on discussion with EU about refugees returning home

Olha Stefanishyna, Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, has stated that Ukraine is actively negotiating with the EU regarding the return of Ukrainian refugees, but that Kyiv does not intend that assistance to them should be reduced.

Source: Stefanyshina in response to a question from Radio Liberty during her visit to Brussels, as reported by European Pravda

Details: Stefanyshina stated that “discussions are ongoing” between Ukraine and the EU on how to “consider the issue of Ukrainians in the future and how to discuss the issue of Ukrainians returning”.

Quote: “This is an extremely difficult topic to discuss. And you can’t use appeals here. It is not Ukraine’s direct position that Ukrainians should return, and as a result, that assistance to them should be reduced – absolutely not. This is an ongoing discussion.”

Stefanyshina said the Ukrainian authorities fundamentally support the idea that refugees in the European Union “should have the right to temporary protection”, even if hostilities cease.

“Another issue is financial payments, because we are talking about quite a long time here. Unfortunately, the war is still going on. It has lasted almost two years, so it is a significant milestone for states. So we need to determine the financial and social guarantees that citizens have in each country,” Stefanyshina explained.

“However, this is not radical communication, nor is it negative. This dialogue continues, as it has since the war started,” she said.

Background:

  • On 24 January, Politico reported, citing informed diplomats, that Ukraine is in talks with EU officials to ensure that future EU migration rules help more Ukrainians return home to support the Ukrainian economy.

  • As of November 2023, 4.2 million Ukrainians who fled the war have benefited from the temporary protection directive in the EU, which is in effect until March 2025.

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