Europe’s united face
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought war back to Europe and with it, the worst refugee crisis since 1945. As the Russian aggression continues, the Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič estimates that the number of refugees fleeing Ukraine will swell to 5 million by June this year, which is almost 10% of the Ukrainian population. Together with people displaced within Ukraine, roughly a quarter of its population has been forced to leave their homes because of the war.
The EU has faced Russian aggression with a united front. While it continues to impose sanctions against Russia and those complicit in the war, it also provides support to those seeking shelter and helps those looking for a safe way home. The Commission put forth a package plan valued at 4 billion euros to assist neighbouring states that accept fleeing Ukrainians. It further coordinated a visa scheme allowing Ukrainians to work for up to three years in host countries unhindered.
Ukrainians can now study and work in the EU; creating lives for themselves whilst also giving back to their host countries. However, to ensure refugees can do so effectively in the short and long-term, research and innovation in technology and socio-political science must play an important role. The following Horizon 2020 initiatives are just a sample of the EU’s commitment to helping Ukrainians establish themselves, safeguarding their interests even once the war has ended.
One stop shop to help Ukraine
Fleeing a war to then settle in a new country poses immense challenges, such as finding a job or ensuring that your qualifications are recognised. This is why the European Commission has created the European Research Area for Ukraine (ERA4Ukraine) portal, a one-stop-shop for information and support services to Ukraine-based researchers fleeing the conflict. The portal brings together initiatives from the national and EU-level as well as from non-governmental organisations. It aims to help those affected find housing and job opportunities and facilitate the recognition of their diplomas, amongst other services. The ERA4Ukraine portal is launched on the existing EURAXESS network, which supports researchers by connecting more than 600 centres and 43 national portals across the EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon Europe.
Find out more about ERA4UKRAINE
Solidarity in Diversity
Recent history has shown that populist nationalism can grow in refugee hosting-societies. This can cause resentment and clashes between locals and refugees, diminishing chances for successful local integration. As refugee numbers from Ukraine settle into Europe permanently, it is important for EU member states to anticipate and uphold a welcoming stance. This is why the European Research Executive Agency has funded SOLiDi within the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie-Actions programme. The EU-funded SOLiDi project has developed a training and research programme to train 15 early-stage researchers in relevant theories, research methods and ethics from a variety of disciplines. Ultimately, the project will provide professionals and institutions with insights and instruments for building cohesive European societies.
Find out more about SOLiDi
Breaking down barriers
European countries can benefit from dealing with migration on an evidence-based approach, which was delivered by the scientific project SIRIUS. This EU-funded project studied how host countries and their political-institutional conditions (e.g. law), societal (e.g. NGOs) and individual-related conditions (e.g. skills) enable or function as barriers to migrants’, refugees’ and asylum seekers’ integration in the labour market. The project has launched an app (Workeen) which is specifically intended to help the mentioned groups find jobs.
Find out more about SIRIUS
Synergy in policy recommendations & key definitions
PROTECT, ASILE and VULNER are three projects attempting to build synergies in order to formulate practical policy recommendations to sustainably manage the migration flows that may continue to come from Ukraine. The three projects investigate: the functioning of the international refugee protection system, international policy recommendations on tools used for asylum governance at the macro level, and developing key definitions on the concept of vulnerability itself. A joint webinar scheduled for the 5 May 2022 is set to discuss the wider implications of the current EU temporary protection mechanism in place for Ukrainian refugees in Europe.
A long road ahead
The EU has learnt valuable lessons from the disunity it faced in 2016 over the influx of Syrian refugees. Today it continues to transpose technological and socio-political scientific findings from ongoing migration projects to the benefit of Ukrainian refugees. The road to rehabilitate Ukrainian refugees will be long however, and it must continue to do so.
- Publication date
- 29 April 2022
- European Research Executive Agency