Recommended citation: Kerneïs K. 2022. «Welcoming Ukrainian refugees in the EU», Policy brief, Paris: Jacques Delors Institute, 20 April.
The Russian federation, led by Vladimir Putin, launched a military offensive against Ukraine on 24 February 2022, triggering a humanitarian disaster on the European continent of an unprecedented scale since WWII. Faced with violent shelling, combats, and other massacres on the ground, which have caused a great deal of both military and civilian casualties and stranded part of the Ukrainian population with very little resources, around 10 million of Ukrainians have fled their homes to find safety in other regions of Ukraine but also in neighbouring countries, Poland at the forefront.
Refugees have been met with open arms in the EU as heads of states and governments, and citizens alike have displayed true solidarity towards the Ukrainian people, in line with the European values enshrined in our treaties (Article 2 TEU).
Nonetheless, the influx of millions of Ukrainians in such a short amount of time will certainly have socio-economic consequences for our societies. This paper provides some preliminary insights on these consequences, although uncertainty remains a key element to consider in our analysis.
This paper first examines the situation today and how it seems to be evolving both in terms of the number and profile of those forced to leave their country, and in terms of what the EU’s response has been so far. The second part of the paper outlines more specifically the need to guarantee emergency assistance for the refugees, which requires a considerable number of resources, both human and material, to be mobilised in the most affected Member States. The last part focuses on the long-term integration of those Ukrainian refugees who wish to stay in the EU, and, despite the tragedy at hand, the ‘benefits’ it could have for the EU.