Following the EU elections, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) warns that the increased presence of the far-right and populist parties in the European Parliament could pose “great risks” to the EU’s approach to humanitarian and development issues, and further hamper prospects for a humane response to asylum and migration.

It is more important than ever that Europe’s leaders stand firm on protecting people caught in the crosshairs of conflict, climate change and extreme poverty, and to those seeking refuge in Europe.

We are urging the new European Parliament to lead with humanity - for the benefit of both people in crisis, and its own citizens.

Harlem Desir, IRC’s Senior Vice President, Europe, says:

“The results of this election - with an increased presence of far-right groups in the new European Parliament - pose significant risks to the EU. A great responsibility rests on the shoulders of other groups, which still represent the majority of EU voters. They must remain committed to supporting EU values including solidarity with the world’s most fragile countries and regions, rather than turning their backs on humanitarian action.

The new composition of the European Parliament comes at a particularly crucial moment for people seeking safety in Europe, as the EU Pact on Asylum and Migration is due to be implemented. We need guarantees that Parliament and EU leaders will closely monitor the implementation of the Pact to ensure fundamental rights are upheld throughout, ramp up safe routes including resettlement, and put the EU’s Action Plan on Integration and Asylum into practice. If not, we will continue to see more suffering at Europe’s borders, more deviation from rules and regulations, and even more division in the EU’s approach to asylum and migration.

Any moves by the EU to turn inward would be short-sighted. It is essential that the EU provides more and better funding for these regions, invests in innovative solutions that work to tackle climate change and malnutrition, and ramps up efforts to protect civilians caught in conflict. This is needed not just to save lives and advance the Sustainable Development Goals, but also to prevent the world’s compounding crises spiralling further out of control.

While the result of this election poses great risks to the EU’s direction of travel, the new mandate is also an opportunity for EU policymakers with global vision to better address pressing humanitarian crises and cement the EU’s position as a leader on the world stage. We urge EU leaders to pour their efforts into raising the bar on humanitarian action - not just for the international community, but in order to meet the needs of its own citizens."