Temporary protection provisions must be aligned with EU law.
The 2001 Temporary Protection Directive was first activated in 2022 – in response to the influx of millions of people fleeing the brutal war in Ukraine into the European Union. By the Council Decision of March 4, 2022, EU Member States were obliged to provide an adequate level of protection to Ukrainian nationals, including other persons who have fled the war in Ukraine and are listed in the Decision.
Under Polish law, Ukrainian citizens and their spouses who have fled from the territory of Ukraine before the war enjoy temporary protection under the terms of the Act of March 12, 2022 on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens in Connection with the Armed Conflict on the Territory of Ukraine (Special-purpose Act). The other persons mentioned in the Council Decision are beneficiaries of temporary protection as defined in the Act of June 13, 2003 on Granting Protection to Foreigners on the Territory of the Republic of Poland.
Unfortunately, both of these laws take insufficient account of the provisions of EU law.
In a letter to Commissioner Ylva Johansson, we highlighted the most serious inconsistencies of Polish law with the Temporary Protection Directive and the Council Decision of March 4, 2022, which create enormous difficulties for Ukrainian citizens and others fleeing the war in Ukraine.
- Not all family members of Ukrainian citizens can benefit from the assistance specified in the Special-purpose Act. Children of Ukrainian citizens who do not have Ukrainian citizenship are, in principle, excluded from the scope of this law.
- Ukrainian citizens and other persons fleeing the war in Ukraine cannot effectively appeal if the Polish authorities unjustifiably refuse to recognise them as beneficiaries of temporary protection.
- At the Polish-Ukrainian border, in the period March-September 2022, as many as 8840 decisions to refuse entry were issued. These also concerned persons enjoying temporary protection in Poland.
- Ukrainian citizens have not had access to any residence permit for several months. Children still do not have this access.
- Poland has not implemented – correctly or at all – the provisions of EU law on voluntary return.
- The entitlement to housing for Ukrainian citizens and others fleeing the war in Ukraine is not sufficiently guaranteed, and the amendments planned by the Polish authorities in this regard will only worsen the housing situation for beneficiaries of temporary protection.
- Ukrainian citizens and others fleeing the war in Ukraine are not guaranteed the right to be reunited with their families.
Our letter can be accessed here:
Letter from the SIP to the European Commission concerning the implementation of the Temporary Protection Directive >>>
The Polish authorities are currently working on another – unfavourable for Ukrainian citizens – amendment of the Special-purpose Act. As part of this work, they should reconcile the content of Polish law with EU law.