Directive 2001/55/EC entered into force on 7 August 2001. Ireland originally opted not to participate in the adoption of the Directive pursuant to the Protocol on the position of the United Kingdom and Ireland annexed to the Treaty on European Union and to the Treaty establishing the European Community by the Treaty of Amsterdam. Ireland subsequently requested that it take part in the Directive, and by decision dated 2003/690/EC of 2 October 2003, the Directive was deemed to apply to Ireland. The Immigration, Residence, and Protection Bill 2010 includes proposed provisions to comply with the Directive. Denmark has opted out. Member States were required to ensure domestic legislation complied with the Directive from 31 December 2002.
This Directive establishes minimum standards for granting temporary protection, and seeks to promote a balance of efforts between Member States in receiving and bearing the consequences of displaced people. It defines temporary protection as “a procedure of exceptional character to provide, in the event of a mass influx or imminent mass influx of displaced persons from third countries who are unable to return to their country of origin, immediate and temporary protection to such persons, in particular if there is also a risk that the asylum system will be unable to process this influx without adverse effects for its efficient operation, in the interests of the persons concerned and other persons requesting protection.”
The Directive provides that that a mass influx may be caused both by spontaneous arrivals in the EU and by evacuation programmes, and provides that the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons shall be established by a Council Decision.
People under temporary protection must be able to lodge an application for asylum at any time. People who are given temporary protection are accorded certain rights, including the right to a residence permit, the right to work, the right to suitable accommodation, the right to welfare and medical care, the right to education for minors, and the right to family reunification.