EU elections: EPP win and far-right gains risk increasing violence and deportation

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Electoral gains for European far-right parties risk leading to even more human rights violations at the EU’s borders and across Europe, against migrants and racialised people.

The leading European People’s Party look set to continue an approach which has undermined human rights and international law, cost lives, and repeatedly failed in its stated aims. Meanwhile, an increased presence in the European Parliament from far-right groups like the European Conservatives and Reformists and Identity and Democracy will create a powerful lobbying presence for the even more hostile migration policies presented in their manifestos. The main risks include:

A foreign policy that threatens refugee and migrant lives while undermining European security

  • The EU looks set to strike more deals with third countries to prevent people from reaching Europe; increasingly also tied to development aid and resource access, thereby distorting European foreign policy aims.
  • The EU already struck such deals with Turkey in 2015, with Libya in 2017, with Tunisia in 2023, and with Egypt and Lebanon this very year. 
  • This model of pouring millions into third countries, including authoritarian regimes, so they keep people out of Europe, has been proven harmful and lethal time and again – most notably through EU assistance to the Libyan “Coast Guard.” 
  • A recent media investigation has revealed how EU funds channelled through these deals are being used by third countries to round up Black migrants across North Africa and dump them in the desert with no aid. The investigation reveals that such operations had been known in Brussels for years.

A border policy that undermines human rights in Europe and paves the way for surveillance and overreach in policing. 

  • The EPP promised to triple Frontex staff and increase the agency’s budget and powers (it is already the EU’s largest.) This is despite little evidence of institutional change since the agency was accused of serious rights violations by the EU anti-corruption watchdog OLAF, and found complicit in human rights violations in the Mediterranean by international NGO Human Rights Watch
  • Former Frontex Director Fabrice Leggeri, who resigned after allegations of misconduct from EU anti-fraud agency OLAF, has been elected as an MEP for French far-right party National Rally.
  • This follows the sweeping package of rights infringements contained within the New Pact on Migration and Asylum agreed earlier this year.

Increasing deportations to danger

  • Right-wing parties across Europe are looking at ramping up deportations of people seeking asylum to supposedly “safe” third countries for the processing of their asylum claim, and for hosting those who would be granted asylum. This would mean more agreements like the UK-Rwanda deal, which has been much criticised by the UN and national institutions and civil society for violating international law and exposing people to abuse and human rights violations. And it would validate and generalise agreements like the one between Italy and Albania, which would see Italy transfer people rescued at sea to the Balkan country with no guarantees against abuses in the new detention centres.

A full overview of what EU parties’ manifestos say about migration can be found here.