Help Print this page 

Summaries of EU Legislation

Title and reference
Temporary protection if there is a mass influx of displaced people

Summaries of EU legislation: direct access to the main summaries page.
Multilingual display
Text

Temporary protection if there is a mass influx of displaced people

 

SUMMARY OF:

Directive 2001/55/EC — rules for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and measures promoting a balance of efforts between EU countries

WHAT IS THE AIM OF THIS DIRECTIVE?

  • It sets up a scheme to deal with mass arrivals in the EU of foreign nationals who cannot return to their countries – in particular due to war, violence or human rights violations.
  • It puts in place immediate temporary protection for these displaced people.
  • It promotes a balance of efforts between EU countries in receiving people. But it does not require compulsory distribution of asylum-seekers across EU countries.
  • Denmark is not participating in the directive.

KEY POINTS

Implementation of temporary protection

  • Temporary protection is implemented in all EU countries by a Council decision confirming a mass influx of displaced people to the EU and stating the groups of people who need protection.
  • Duration is 1 year. Can be extended by up to 2 years.
  • Protection may end if the Council deems it safe for people to return to their home country.
  • EU countries must ensure that displaced people are willing to come to their country.

Some people may be excluded from temporary protection.

They include people:

  • suspected of:
    • crimes against peace *
    • war crimes, crimes against humanity
    • serious non-political crimes
  • acting against the purposes and principles of the United Nations
  • who are a danger to security in the host EU country.

Effects of temporary protection

EU countries must give people who are granted temporary protection a residence permit.

This is valid for the full duration of protection.

People granted temporary protection have the right to:

  • be employed or self-employed
  • access adult education, vocational training and work experience
  • suitable accommodation
  • social welfare and financial support and medical care.

Children under 18 will also have the right to enter education under the same conditions as nationals of the host EU country.

If some members of the same family have been granted temporary protection in different EU countries, or if some family members are not yet in the EU, they must have the right to be reunited in the same EU country.

These rules are in line with EU rules on receiving applicants for international protection in Directive 2013/33/EU.

Asylum applications

People granted temporary protection must be able to lodge an application for asylum. The EU country that receives the person is responsible for examining the application.

However, countries may decide that someone who has been granted temporary protection cannot have the status of asylum-seeker at the same time.

This helps countries to reduce the burden on their asylum system by offering temporary protection while postponing the examination of asylum applications.

Directive 2013/32/EU sets out common EU rules for granting and withdrawing international protection.

Ending temporary protection

  • During protection or when temporary protection ends, EU countries must take steps to enable the voluntary return of protected people.
  • If enforced return is necessary, countries must make sure there is due respect for human dignity and that there are no compelling humanitarian reasons that would make return impossible.
    • People who cannot travel for health reasons cannot be forced to return until their health improves.
    • Families whose children are minors and attend school may be allowed to stay until the end of the school year.

Administrative support

The measures laid down by the directive benefit from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. If the number of displaced people exceeds the reception capacity indicated by EU countries, the Council will take appropriate measures, in particular by recommending additional support for the EU countries affected.

FROM WHEN DOES THE DIRECTIVE APPLY?

It has applied since 7 August 2001. EU countries had to incorporate it into national law by 31 December 2002.

The scheme set out in the directive has not yet been triggered.

BACKGROUND

For more information, including a detailed study of the directive completed in 2016, see:

* KEY TERMS

Crime against peace: under international law, it means planning, preparing, initiating, or waging of wars of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participating in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of these.

MAIN DOCUMENT

Council Directive 2001/55/EC of 20 July 2001 on minimum standards for giving temporary protection in the event of a mass influx of displaced persons and on measures promoting a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving such persons and bearing the consequences thereof (OJ L 212, 7.8.2001, pp. 12–23)

RELATED DOCUMENTS

Directive 2013/32/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 on common procedures for granting and withdrawing international protection (OJ L 180, 29.6.2013, pp. 60-95)

Directive 2013/33/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection (OJ L 180, 29.6.2013, pp. 96–116)

Regulation (EU) No 514/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 laying down general provisions on the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund and on the instrument for financial support for police cooperation, preventing and combating crime, and crisis management (OJ L 150, 20.5.2014, pp. 112–142)

last update 28.03.2017

Top