A long-term refugee crisis, with thousands stranded in substandard camps, has unfolded on European soil. On the Greek islands 12,515 men, women and children await possible return to Turkey and the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has identified 59,569 people of concern across the country.
The refugee crisis is part of a new global normal, in which unusually large numbers of people are displaced for longer than ever before, and where the disparity between their needs and provision is growing by the week. Europe's first priority must be to meet the humanitarian needs of refugees who have already arrived, and to process their asylum claims, family reunion and relocation transfers quickly. The EU-Turkey deal has not dampened the desperation of people attempting to reach sanctuary in Europe. Denied safe pathways into Europe, significantly more refugees are risking their lives by travelling via smuggling routes through the Balkans. Elsewhere in Europe, desperate people also continue to make the dangerous sea voyage from Libya to Italy.
Resettlement of refugees must be a core part of a new global pact. Immediate increase in national resettlement efforts is required to offer safe routes of entry for those seeking sanctuary. EU decision makers must now step up to their responsibility and work to adopt the Union Resettlement Framework with annual targets that will make a real impact. The UN estimates that 10% of the global refugee population - the most vulnerable - need resettlement. IRC calculates that the European share is a minimum of 540,000 over the next five years, or 108,000 per year.