Open Doors and Barbed Wire: Europe's Asylum Paradox

Brussels - A team of reporters from the Thomson Reuters Foundation and Irish Times have investigated the impact of the first-ever application of the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) by the EU to Ukrainian refugees.

What makes the EU's 2001 Temporary Protection Directive stand out is that it confers rights to refugees immediately — they are allowed to work, and access healthcare, housing, education and welfare. The measure, while largely hailed a success, has created a two-tier system, in which non-Ukrainian refugees still undergo a lengthy asylum process and endure conditions that often appear designed to deter them from coming to the EU.

In addition to analyzing why this was the first conflict the TPD was used for, we compared the differential impact of policy on refugees themselves in six EU countries: Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Poland.

Asylum seekers at a demonstration outside Belgium's asylum reception centre 'the little castle' Brussels, Belgium February 2023. 📷Thomson Reuters Foundation/ Joanna Gill


A Pakistani-Canadian journalist based in Berlin whose work has appeared in the Guardian, VICE, Maclean’s, The Walrus, Toronto Star, Globe and Mail, HuffPost and more.

A British journalist based in Brussels, Belgium whose work on TV and in print has featured on Reuters, AFP, Euronews, Channel 4 news (UK), and others.