In July 2022, the Czech Republic assumed its second presidency of the Council of the European Union, where it will have the pivotal role of setting the EU’s focus and priorities for the latter half of 2022.

With a record 274 million people worldwide in need of humanitarian assistance, and more than 100 million people displaced from their homes, it's critical that the Czech Presidency puts the rule of law, protection and fundamental rights at the heart of its agenda.

Here are six ways that the new Czech Presidency of the EU can contribute to a Europe that protects, welcomes and empowers:

1. Address food insecurity

Galvanise EU action on growing global hunger as a priority in the 6 months ahead. With the food security crisis in East Africa projected to be the deadliest this century, ensure member states ramp up flexible funding to provide immediate aid to all who need it now, while scaling up financing and engagement to mitigate against future shocks.

Judith Idiengol, 27, feeds her daughter Vanessa, 1, at Locher Angamor Health Dispensary in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Turkana, Kenya
Judith, 27, feeds her daughter Vanessa peanut paste provided as part of her treatment at an IRC-run nutrition centre in Kakuma refugee camp, Kenya.
Photo: Patrick Meinhardt for the IRC

2. Sustain support for refugees fleeing Ukraine

Ensure sustained support for the reception, protection and inclusion of refugees fleeing Ukraine and beyond – without discrimination. This will require:

3. Not forget the growing crisis in Afghanistan

Galvanise a solid, long-term EU response to address the collapse of Afghanistan’s economy resulting from policies of economic isolation. The economic crisis is now the primary driver of persistent food insecurity threatening the survival of nearly 20 million Afghans and pushing humanitarian needs to record levels.

To safeguard the lives and livelihoods of innocent Afghans, the EU must:

4. Step up humanitarian diplomacy

Advance EU efforts to better monitor and prevent International Humanitarian Law (IHL) violations, including via the newly established EU-IHL coordination mechanism. Step up humanitarian diplomacy to overcome barriers to humanitarian access, notably in Syria, Ethiopia and Yemen.

An IRC employee sitting with a young boy in front of rubble
The IRC sends mobile teams to provide medical care in the most remote areas of Yemen.
Photo: Kellie Ryan / IRC

5. Kickstart refugee resettlement

Uphold the right to asylum across Europe no matter how or from where people arrived, kickstart resettlement by achieving an EU-wide commitment to resettle at least 40,000 refugees next year, and put refugee protection and solidarity at the heart of negotiations on EU asylum reform.

Syrian refugee Chadia Bchir with her husband Mazen and children, Zane and Nour at their house in Brighton, UK
Chadia arrived in the UK in 2016 with her two children after fleeing Syria, joining her husband.
Photo: Betty Laura Zapata for IRC

6. Expand safe and legal pathways to protection 

Protect the rights and dignity of people on the move beyond EU borders. With more than 100 million people displaced from their homes worldwide, the EU must expand safe and legal pathways to protection and develop meaningful migration partnerships that protect peoples’ rights and promote economic well-being and self-reliance.

A group of refugees are put onto a boat to be returned to Libya
An IRC doctor during a rescue at sea operation at the Tripoli Port in Libya.