SCEEUS: Ukraine’s Alarming Demographics

2023-05-02 | Expert publications

By Michael Emerson. The task of reconstruction and recovery of Ukraine so far is seeing most attention devoted to the economics of repairing physical capital assets. However, the losses of human capital through emigration on top of war casualties are arguably on an even larger scale, and without recovery also on this account the reconstruction of physical assets will be in vain. New data has become available on the scale and structure of emigration caused by the war, with alarmingly around 30 to 40% of children and of prime age women having left. Over 4 million of them have been welcomed in the EU under the first activation of the Temporary Protection Directive, providing exceptionally positive conditions compared to standard asylum procedures.[1] Post-war refugee return will be an obvious priority, but how this should be managed and dove-tailed with the end to temporary protection is highly uncertain.

 The default scenario for EU law and policy, following an end to the temporary protection, is for the migrant families either to return or to apply for asylum. However, the asylum systems of member states are incapable of handling the very large numbers involved, and so this scenario would get close to a chaotic regime mixing virtually enforced return and illegal overstays, and should be ruled out. An alternative recommendable scenario would be for the current three-year temporary protection period to be extended for another three years in order to dove-tail with a recast long-term residence directive, coupled however to other measures to facilitate voluntary return.

Read the full publication.