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Safe pathways to international protection in the EU

The number of persons in need of international protection has been sharply increasing globally since 2012, reaching a peak of 42 million people by mid-2022. At the same time, the options to reach the EU through regular and safe pathways have been limited. The persons concerned are often obliged to take dangerous routes to reach a country of asylum in the EU, risking their life or being exposed to exploitation from smugglers or other serious harm, since few alternatives for safe passage exist. Creating pathways which allow asylum seekers to reach Europe safely and apply for international protection could help address this situation.


European National Red Cross Societies  and the IFRC thus make the following recommendations to further encourage the EU, its Member States and EU-associated countries to ensure that access to safe pathways to Europe is facilitated:

  • Grant priority for resettlement to the most vulnerable people and ensure com­plementarity with other instruments.
  • Uphold the principle of global solidari­ty and avoid the use of resettlement as a tool to leverage third countries’ coop­eration on migration management.
  • Invest in high-quality reception con­ditions and access to services, includ­ing integration, for all refugees.
  • Ensure adequate financial, logistical and capacity-building support to im­prove resettlement programmes.
  • Encourage clear criteria for community spon­sorship eligibility, and ensure non-differ­ential, durable solutions to newcomers.
  • Capitalise on the grassroots elements of commu­nity sponsorship and support its sustainability.
  • Improve information, civil society and humanitarian organisations’ involve­ment and financial support to facili­tate access to humanitarian visas.

Previous position paper on the topic. 

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