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Fierce criticism for BBB's call to return Ukrainian refugees

A controversial comment made by Mona Keijzer of the Dutch BBB party (Farmer-Citizen Movement) calling for the return of Ukrainian refugees and Ukrainian conscription-age men to safe areas of Ukraine has sparked fierce criticism. Mark Klaassen, Associate Professor of Immigration Law and a member of the Advisory Council on Migration, spoke on Dutch radio programme ‘EenVandaag’.

Ukrainians staying in the Netherlands have a special status. The EU has invoked its Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) removing the requirement for an asylum procedure to be launched. This European directive will remain effective until 5 March 2025.

Are there any safe areas in Ukraine?

Klaassen: ‘The question of whether there are safe areas in Ukraine is not an issue at all in a TPD procedure.’ This only becomes an issue if an asylum procedure is launched in which Country Information published by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is used to assess asylum applications. The advantage  is that the IND is spared 100,000 additional asylum procedures, which they currently do not have the capacity to process.

In the broadcast, war correspondent Melissen emphasised that there are no safe areas in Ukraine.

Can the TPD procedure be amended?

The TPD procedure can only be challenged on a European level. Moreover, according to a recent debate, the responsible State Secretary advocates extending the European directive. Nevertheless, this political debate has caused a great deal of unrest. Klaassen, however, says that refugees do not need to worry for the time being, including refugees who travel back and forth to visit family in their home country.

‘In any case, the temporary TPD will remain in force until 5 March 2025, and all Ukrainians with temporary protection will continue to be protected,’ Klaassen says.


Find out more?

Listen to the EenVandaag radio item (in Dutch)

Photo: Alissa Eady through Unsplash

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