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European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies

Ukrainian migration crisis: New research network looks into practical solutions

On 8 November 2022, the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) launched a new Research Network on Ukrainian Migration (RNUM), in collaboration with the United Nations University (MERIT), the University of Maastricht and the Centre of Migration Research at the University of Warsaw.

15 November 2022 | Research - Partnership


Its creation is a response to the international displacement of more than 6.5 million people -predominantly women and children - since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. The network builds on the consolidated expertise of its partners with longer-standing emigration from Ukraine and patterns of migration within, to and from Europe, more generally.

The first meeting heard contributions on: internal displacement within Ukraine following Russian annexation of Ukrainian territory after 2014; developments in Poland, which currently hosts around 1.4 million Ukrainians; longer-term perspectives on Ukrainian migration to Europe; public attitudes to Ukrainian displacement as well as to migration and refugee flows from other countries; and the implementation of the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive.

MPC’s main contributions are to track public attitudes and policy developments over time. In June, the Centre commissioned survey research in eight European countries (Austria, Czechia,Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania and Slovakia). The survey asked about attitudes to displaced Ukrainians and compared these to attitudes to displaced Syrians. It also asked about attitudes to government responses and to hosting displaced Ukrainians.

A key headline was that the survey found positive attitudes to displaced Ukrainians in all the surveyed countries, including, most strikingly in Central European countries where national governments have tended to strongly oppose EU plans for relocation of asylum seekers. Subsequent research is looking more closely at attitudes in Central European countries. The survey will be run again in early 2023.

The second component of the MPC’s contribution is tracking implementation of the EU’s Temporary Protection Directive. While agreed back in 2001, it had never been activated. Within a few days of the escalation of the Russian invasion in early March 2022, the Council unanimously agreed to its activation. MPC is now working with experts in all EU states to monitor the Directive’s implementation. As with all EU directives there are margins for interpretation. The MPC’s tracker will analyse these margins to learn more about access to a protection status and the rights associated with it. The aim is not to rank EU member states, but to develop a comprehensive overview over time of the TPD’s implementation that will identify areas of good practice that allow member states to make good on their intentions to protect.

There is a wider context to this work too because MPC research has also shown the stark differences in responses to migration and displacement from Africa and the Middle East. This raises wider questions about the scope and meaning of protection in Europe that are also on RNUM’s agenda.

The next meeting will be on 24 February 2023. Potential contributions and further information can be addressed through this mail address.

Last update: 15 November 2022

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