There is an urgent need for the EU to adopt policy that directly addresses the global crisis of forced displacement by providing expanded legal routes to protection, and offering the urgent safety sought by refugees. Resettlement – the transfer of a vulnerable refugee from a country in which they have sought asylum to another state that has agreed to admit and grant them permanent settlement – must, on a scale far greater than current efforts, form a significant part of the EU’s response.

The IRC therefore calls on the EU to resettle, as a minimum, 108,000 refugees every year, amounting to 540,000 refugees over the next five years. This is a fair and achievable minimum commitment for a new European resettlement programme which takes into consideration the rapidly increasingly challenge of global forced displacement and the European refugee crisis, and the capabilities of European states and the UNHCR resettlement system. It is vital that resettlement also be complemented by alternative pathways to safety, such as humanitarian visas and family reunification, and does not diminish Europe’s responsibilities to asylum seekers at borders.