EU States Have a Duty to Expand Refugee Resettlement in Light of Global Needs 

Ahead of the European Union High Level Resettlement Forum, HIAS Europe urges Member States to make ambitious resettlement pledges to show solidarity with displaced people worldwide.

Over the last 10 years, the world has seen a 129% increase in forced displacement. By mid-2022, more than 100 million people had been forced to flee their homes. Yet, as global displacement surpasses all records, the EU’s resettlement efforts do not match up.  While developing countries still host an estimated 83% of the world’s refugees, in 2021 EU states resettled only 15,660, or less than 1.1% of global needs. Further, solidarity is not shown equally between EU states: last year, 78% of all refugees resettled in the EU arrived in just three countries: Sweden, Germany, and France.

The EU is falling short of its promise to resettle over 20,000 refugees this year: only 7,821 people had been resettled by August. Not only are Member States unlikely to meet this year’s targets, they are also behind schedule to make their commitments for resettlement in 2023.

Resettlement is one of the few safe and regular pathways for vulnerable refugees to reach the EU, and a durable solution to record displacement worldwide. Faced with a lack of safe routes, people seeking protection are forced to make dangerous and irregular journeys to reach European soil.

In light of unprecedented global protection needs, EU Member States must:

  • Commit to resettling at least 40,000 refugees in 2023, in addition to fulfilling existing pledges.
  • Increase and expand complementary pathways — including sponsorship, family reunification, labour mobility, and humanitarian visas — as additional and separate to resettlement.
  • Swiftly meet the current commitment to resettle over 20,000 refugees in 2022, and to admit nearly 40,000 Afghans at risk between 2021-2022.
  • Adopt the Union Resettlement Framework (URF) to establish a more structured, predictable and longstanding EU policy on resettlement.

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