This September marksa moment of political transition in Europe, as the new members of the European Parliament get back down to work and the incoming European Commission takes shape. But while EU officials go “back to school”, the lives of millions of displaced people around the globe remain on hold: their livelihoods and education disrupted by a combination of conflict, climate change and extreme poverty, caught up in conflicts that last for decades.

As the world’s leading humanitarian donor, respected diplomatic power and home to millions of refugees and asylum-seekers, the EU is uniquely placed to provide a truly game-changing and rules-based response to both the causes and consequences of protracted crises. But to achieve this potential, a fundamental rethink of the EU’s humanitarian, development and political action is needed.  Facing a unique chance to set a fresh course for crisis-affected populations, the newly-elected European Parliament and the European Commission should seize the opportunity to make this happen.

Imogen Sudbery, Director of Policy and Advocacy for IRC Europe said:

“IRC evidence, gathered from our work in some of the most fragile and difficult contexts around the world shows that  EU asylum, migration, development and humanitarian policies are currently pulling in different directions: better alignment is needed in order to provide effective solutions to the reality of protracted crises.  To start with, as climate, migration and development are intrinsically linked, we need the Commission President to appoint a First Vice President fully empowered to drive SDG implementation and ensure policy coherence across all EU actions.”

Read the International Rescue Committee's EU manifesto here.