The European Union provides substantial aid to the Syrian region to help alleviate the crisis, which is now in its fourth year. However, most EU countries have not significantly expanded their protection regimes to admit more refugees fleeing Syria. In a recent article, 'High Time for Europe to Offer Temporary Protection to Refugees from Syria?', Cynthia Orchard and Dawn Chatty argue that the EU already has a potentially powerful tool at its disposal to do so, and should use it in concert with a range of other measures in order to expand avenues of legal entry to Europe.
This tool is the Temporary Protection Directive, issued in 2001 in the wake of the wars in the former Yugoslavia, but never activated. As Orchard and Professor Chatty explain, the Directive would offer similar protection to current resettlement and humanitarian admission regimes, but it would likely work much faster:
Temporary protection does not require a status determination procedure (other than to establish membership in the designated group), as is normally necessary for refugee status, which would reduce the time and resources needed to process beneficiaries. In addition, the programme would be coordinated across Europe, promoting responsibility-sharing amongst European countries. Finally, the programme would offer protection to significantly more people.
Protection in Europe for refugees from Syria (policy briefing)