Yes, there's still hope in Europe

The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) welcomes the display of power by European citizens to repel inward-looking, nationalist, and anti-migrant version of Europe.

With turnout for the European Parliament elections rising for the first time in 40 years, we gave a strong signal that Europe is home to people of all nationalities, notwithstanding the efforts of some to undermine the premises of the European project: hospitality, solidarity and the respect of human rights.

David Moriarty, JRS Ireland Assistant Director said: Contrary to the anti-migrant discourse, it is proven that there is widespread support across Europe for embracing migrants and refugees in our societies.

However, JRS reminds that, regardless of whether the far-right has under-performed against the pre-vote hype, the ideas that they are bringing to this new European Parliament can reshape Europe’s political landscape for the years to come.

This can put at risk Europe’s capacity to effectively defend not only its citizens but also refugees and asylum seekers. With the unfinished negotiations on the asylum reform package being referred to the forthcoming parliament term, Eurosceptic voices can still impact whether humanitarian and solidarity-based asylum policies are adopted at EU and member state level.

Therefore, we call on all pro-European parties in the new Parliament to work collectively with one another and build strong alliances for the cause of an inclusive Europe. This is the way to override xenophobic policies that will seek to dismantle EU’s capacity to protect and embrace all people, especially the most vulnerable.

To succeed, we also need a more nuanced approach from pro-European parties, other relevant stakeholders and the civil society., We need civil society organisations at the table to leverage their existing experiences and best practices to influence EU decisions on policies and frameworks for refugees and migrants.

In conclusion, Mr. Moriarty added: JRS will continue to work for a Europe that welcomes, protects and guarantees dignity for all. We used the power of our vote and it worked. Now we must make sure it is put to good use.