EU pledges more than €3 billion for Syrians in 2016
4 February 2016 – The European Union and its Member States pledged today more than €3 billion to assist the Syrian people inside Syria as well as refugees and the communities hosting them in the neighbouring countries for the year 2016.
The European Union and its Member States pledged today more than €3 billion to assist the Syrian people inside Syria as well as refugees and the communities hosting them in the neighbouring countries for the year 2016.
The pledge triples the EU support offered at the last donor conference in Kuwait on 31 March 2015, and comes on top of the €5 billion that the EU has already committed in response to the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II.
The announcement was made at the ‘Supporting Syria and the Region’ conference hosted by the United Kingdom, Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the United Nations by the President of the European Council Donald Tusk and High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini.
Tusk and Mogherini represented the EU alongside Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement and Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. The London-based conference drew leaders from of over 70 delegations.
European Council President Tusk conveyed a message of hope: “With this pledge we hope to offer millions of people better lives. Refugees have had little choice but to flee their country. Many of them have lost everything. And now after so many years of conflict, people have lost hope. We have a moral duty to bring their hope back.”
HRVP Mogherini recalled that only a political solution would put an end to the immense suffering experienced by the Syrian people and reiterated the EU’s full support to the efforts undertaken by UN Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura to ensure constructive peace talks.
She added: “As the European Union, we share with the entire international community the responsibility to save Syria, for the sake of its citizens and the whole region. That’s why we bring proposals to further step up our existing engagement of the last five years, when the EU has already been the leading donor on the Syria crisis. While we provide humanitarian and development aid, and propose economic and financial support in different forms also for Jordan and Lebanon, we keep working for a political transition in Syria that can put an end to the war. The intra-Syrian talks in Geneva have opened a window of opportunity. This window will not be open forever, and it is crucial that all the parties engage constructively in a dialogue that has to bring concrete results on the ground. The EU and its Member States will continue to provide life-saving assistance, but also to push all parties to ensure access to those in need across Syria, to work on ceasefires and to protect civilians. The humanitarian work and the diplomatic efforts have to go hand in hand: they can reinforce each other, or weaken each other. The EU is committed to making both deliver.”
Over the past five years, the war has claimed more than 250,000 lives, most of them civilians, while over 18 million people are in need of assistance, including 13.5 million inside Syria. The war has led to major displacements inside the country ( 6.5 million internally-displaced ) and beyond. With over 4.6 million people having fled primarily to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, the war has had a deep impact on Syria’s neighbours.
The continued hospitality and generosity of Syria’s neighbours and especially the communities hosting the refugees is widely appreciated by the international community. At the London conference, the EU announced its intention to significantly increase its support in particular to Lebanon and Jordan, the two countries with the biggest number of refugees in terms of proportion of refugees to the host population. The EU is ready to start negotiating ‘EU Compacts’ with both countries, to strengthen its political, economic, trade and social ties in addition to improving the living conditions of refugees and affected host communities.
The European Commission today welcomed the agreement by Member States on the details of the €3 billion Refugee Facility for Turkey, which the Commission proposed on 24 November in the context of our cooperation with Turkey on tackling the refugee crisis. The Commission has agreed to increase its contribution to €1 billion, compared to the €500 million originally proposed in November. The EU will now be able to swiftly deliver substantial new financial resources to support Turkey in coping with the presence of Syrian refugees under temporary protection and host communities in Turkey.
European Commission First-Vice President Frans Timmermans said: “I welcome the agreement by the Member States on the details of the Refugee Facility for Turkey. This is what we agreed at the meeting of EU heads of state or government with Turkey on 29 November. The money we are putting on the table will directly benefit Syrian refugees in Turkey, helping to improve their access to education and healthcare in particular. I also welcome the measures already taken by the Turkish authorities to give Syrian refugees access to the labour market and to reduce the flows. The step taken today will help ensure better prospects for Syrians in Turkey and advance on the implementation of our Joint Action Plan. We must work together to achieve results, in particular when it comes to stemming the influx of irregular migrants.”
Commissioner for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiation, Johannes Hahn, added: “Turkey now hosts one of the world’s largest refugee communities and has committed to significantly reducing the numbers of migrants crossing into the EU. The Facility for Refugees in Turkey will go straight to the refugees, providing them with education, health and food. The improvement of living-conditions and the offering of a positive perspective will allow refugees to stay closer to their homes.”
The Refugee Facility for Turkey is the answer to the European Council’s call for significant additional funding to support refugees in Turkey. The Facility will provide a joint coordination mechanism for actions financed by the EU budget and national contributions made by the Member States, designed to ensure that the needs of refugees and host communities are addressed in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
To ensure coordination, complementarity and efficiency in the financing, the Steering Committee of the Facility will provide strategic guidance and decide on which types of actions will be supported and through which financing instruments. The Steering Committee will monitor and assess the implementation of the Facility. It will be composed of representatives of Member States, the Commission and of Turkey, in an advisory capacity.
The assistance provided under the Turkey Refugee Facility will be conditional on the compliance by Turkey with the EU-Turkey Joint Action Plan, which aims to bring order into migratory flows and help to stem irregular migration, and the EU-Turkey Statement from 29 November 2015.
Its geographical position makes Turkey a major first reception and transit country for migrants. The country is hosting more than 2,5 million asylum seekers and refugees.
Turkey is making commendable efforts to provide massive humanitarian aid and support to an unprecedented and continuously increasing influx of people seeking refuge and has already spent more than €7 billion of its own resources on addressing this crisis.
On 15 October, the European Commission reached an ad referenda agreement with Turkey on a Joint Action Plan to step up their cooperation on migration management in a coordinated effort to tackle the refugee crisis.
At the European Council of 15 October, Heads of State or Government of the EU’s 28 Member States endorsed the agreement and welcomed the joint Action Plan.
The Action Plan identifies a series of collaborative actions to be implemented as a matter of urgency by the European Union and the Turkey with the aim of confronting common challenges in a concerted manner and supplementing Turkey’s efforts in managing the large number of people in need of protection in Turkey. In addition, the European Union – the institutions and its Member States – also committed to increasing political engagement with Turkey, providing Turkey with significant financial support, accelerating the fulfilment of the visa liberalisation roadmap and re-energising the accession process with Turkey.
For more information
Intervention by President Donald Tusk
We are here today to forge a common response to the biggest humanitarian challenge of our time: the Syrian refugee crisis. Refugees have had little choice but to flee their country. Many of them have lost everything. And now after so many years of conflict, people have lost hope. We have a moral duty to bring their hope back.
Syria’s neighbours have shown tremendous efforts in accommodating over 4.6 million refugees. The international community recognizes that countries like Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey are providing a global public good in assisting refugees. We are all here because this public good has to be financed by the global community. We have to support Syria’s neighbours in accommodating refugees.
Since the start of the conflict the European Union has spent 5 billion euros helping to manage this crisis. Last year, the European Union exceeded its commitment to give an additional 1 billion euros to the region. We now stand ready to offer more help.
I am pleased to announce that the European Union and its member states will commit more than 3 billion euros to respond to the needs of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey for 2016. Looking beyond that, from 2017 onwards, the EU and Member States intend to maintain this level of financing.
On top of this pledge, the EU’s bank will also play its part. The European Investment Bank plans to lend around 12.5 billion euros to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt over the next five years. This could be stepped up to a possible total of 23 billion euros for the whole of the Middle East and North Africa. President Hoyer from EIB will present the details later today.
I will continue to convince my G7 and G20 partners to step up our global efforts.
Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the EU on the alignment of certain countries concerning restrictive measures against Syria
On 16 December 2015, the Council adopted Decision (CFSP) 2015/2359 [Published on 17.12.2015 in the Official Journal of the European Union no. L 331, p. 26.] implementing Council Decision [2013/255/CFSP.]
The Decision amends the list of persons and entities subject to restrictive measures as set out in [Annex I to Decision 2013/255/CFSP.]
The Candidate Countries the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Montenegro*, Serbia* and Albania*, [The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.] and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova and Georgia align themselves with this Declaration.
They will ensure that their national policies conform to this Council Decision.
The European Union takes note of this commitment and welcomes it.
Factsheet – EU support in response to the Syrian crisis:
04/02/2016 – The Syrian crisis has become the world’s worst humanitarian disaster. The EU is the leading donor in the international response to the Syrian crisis, with over €5 billion from the EU and Member States collectively in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance. The EU’s support goes both to Syrians in their country and to refugees and their host communities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. In view of the conference Supporting Syria and the Region that will take place in London on 4 February the EU and the Member States are working on further support, both short and medium term.
The EU’s relations with Syria
In 2011, the EU responded to the unacceptable violence used by the military and security forces against peaceful protestors by suspending its cooperation with the Syrian Government under the European Neighbourhood Policy and gradually extending restrictive measures. This policy sought to pressure the Syrian Government into ending violence and to encourage a political solution to the conflict. From the very outset, the EU has condemned human rights violations in Syria in the strongest terms.
EU’s objective is to bring an end to the conflict and enable the Syrian people to live in peace in their own country. The latest EU position is stated in the Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions of [12 October 2015.] The EU is a full member and active participant in the International Syria Support Group. It fully supports the UN-led process, notably the efforts of the UN Special Envoy for Syria.
Only a Syrian-led political process leading to a peaceful and inclusive transition, based on the principles of the [Geneva communiqué of 30 June 2012] and in line with relevant UN Security Council resolutions [notably 2254 (2015] will bring back stability to Syria.
European Commission funding – overview
Since 2011, the European Commission’s support in response to the Syrian crisis has exceeded €2.6 billion. The Commission provides both immediate humanitarian assistance, and non-humanitarian aid, responding to medium-term needs.
In humanitarian assistance, the Commission has so far provided €1.037 billion for life-saving emergency responses, food, water, sanitation, hygiene and shelterto millions of Syrians inside Syria and in neighbouring countries.
In non-humanitarian aid, the Commission has mobilised €1.6 billion, including:
* €961 million through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI)- of which €381 millionchannelled via the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis (EUTF)-to address the medium term needs of the Syrian refugees living in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan (education, livelihoods, health, access to basic services);
* €180 million through Macro-financial Assistance (MFA) to Jordan to assist with the influx of Syrian refugees;
* €180 million through the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace for assistance programmes in opposition-controlled areas in Syria, mediation efforts, transitional justice preparation and measures to reduce tensions between refugees and host communities in the region, as well as to support the destruction of Syrian chemical stockpiles and chemical threat prevention;
* €249 million through the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) to Turkey – of which €173 million are channelled via the EUTF;
* €26 million through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights;
* €26 million through the Development Co-operation Instrument (DCI)- of which €10 million are channelled via the EUTF
Since its establishment in December 2014, most non-humanitarian aid for Syria’s neighbouring countries is channeled through the EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis, the [“Madad Fund” EUTF Madad] . The EUTF aims to bring a more coherent and integrated EU response to the crisis by merging various EU financial instruments and contributions from Member States into one single flexible and quick mechanism. The Trust Fund primarily addresses longer term resilience needs of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, as well as the hosting communities and their administrations. Its mandate has just been extended to be able to operate also in the Western Balkans, as far as it is concerned by the Syrian migrants flow. In future the Trust Fund may start financing resilience activities inside Syria and could become a funding tool for reconstruction, resettlement and governance support following a political settlement of the crisis. With recent pledges from 17 Member States- amounting to over €52 million- and contributions from various EU instruments, the Fund is now reaching a total volume of €645 million. Additional funds will be committed in 2016 and beyond.
Inside Syria, thanks to lifesaving aid provided by the Commission, some 2 million people have gained access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene items, 850 000 people have received food, 1 million people have received non-food items and shelter, and 350 000 children have been covered by child protection programmes.
The EU’s humanitarian aid is impartial and independent and goes to people in need regardless of ethnic or religious considerations. The EU’s humanitarian aid is channelled through the United Nations, International Organisations, and international NGO partners.
Since the on-set of the Syrian crisis, substantial non-humanitarian assistance inside Syria has been provided by the Commission through the European Neighbourhood Instrument, targeting in particular education, livelihoods and civil society support.
Thanks to this financial support, 2.3 million childrenhave had improved access to education at primary and secondary school level (over 4,000 schools reached). Furthermore, more than 11,367 emergency job-opportunities for Syrians have been created (including 4,000 job opportunities for women) and numerous micro-grants for small-size businesses have been provided. More than 85,000 Syrians inside Syria have benefitted from improved community-based activities thanks to the strengthening of grassroots civil society activities.
In addition, Commission funds from the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights have also supported the protection of Human Rights Defenders as well as capacity-building of Syrian journalists.
Assistance to neighbouring countries
Since the beginning of the crisis, Syrians fled to neighbouring countries which are hosting an unprecedented number of refugees. The European Union is strongly supporting the Syrian refugees and their host communities in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
In Jordan there are over 630 000 Syrian refugees, half of them children. Since the beginning of the crisis, the European Commission has allocated more than €583.7 million in assistance to refugees and vulnerable communities. This includes more than €198 million from the humanitarian budget, €180 million from the Macro Financial Assistance (MFA) Instrument, over €170 million from the ENI/ European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument, and more than €30 million from the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace. The Commission’s humanitarian aid has helped more than 350.000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. With 83% of the refugees in Jordan living in urban settings, the Commission supports the most vulnerable refugees through cash assistance as it is considered the most cost-efficient and dignified modality. Specific programmes support children’s and women’s needs, since approximately 53% of the refugees are children and 23.5 % women. Another priority in 2015 has been responding to the emergency needs of asylum seekers at the border between Syria and Jordan where today more than 16 000 people remain stranded, awaiting access to Jordan.
This support comes on top of the over €500 million in regular programmed bilateral cooperation for Jordan under the European Neighbourhood policy, which brings the overall amount to €1.08 billion.
For Lebanon, since the beginning of the crisis, the European Commission has allocated €552.1 million. This includes more than €269 million in humanitarian aid and €283 million for development/stabilisation support, mainly financed by the ENI/European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (close to €250 million) and Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (over €30 million) to address longer term resilience needs of affected civilians, both refugees and Lebanese host communities. In Lebanon, through its partners, the EU’s humanitarian aid reaches around 665.000 people.
The Commission’s non-humanitarian aid is addressing both refugees and host communities’ needs. The main part is going to the education sector but we are also dealing with health, livelihoods and local infrastructures (water, waste water, solid waste management).
This support comes on top of €219 million in regular programmed bilateral cooperation for Lebanon under the European Neighbourhood Policy, which bring the overall support to €771 million. This shows that the EU was able to mobilise within a short period a 200% increase of funding for Lebanon to effectively address the country’s huge needs resulting from the refugee crisis.
In Turkey there are over 2.5 million registered Syrian refugees, making Turkey the largest host of refugees in the world.
The total funding provided by the EU to Turkey in response to the Syria Crisis, including humanitarian aid as well as longer-term assistance, amounts to €352 million. In humanitarianaid, the European Commission has contributed €71 million since 2011 to primarily assist Syrian refugees but also Iraqi refugees and other populations of concern in Turkey. EU humanitarian aid is funding the provisions of food, non-food items (including winterization assistance), health assistance and protection through humanitarian partners. Altogether, the Commission is in Turkey currently providing food assistance to about 230,000 people and health assistance to about 130,000 people. Through the EU Children of Peace initiative, the Commission has funded emergency education, which provides Syrian children living in Turkey with access to schools.
Moreover, in November 2015, the EU announced that it is setting up a legal framework – a Refugee Facility for Turkey – with €3 billion to deliver efficient and complementary support to Syrian refugees and host communities in Turkey. Priority will be given to actions providing immediate humanitarian, development and other assistance to refugees and host communities, national and local authorities in managing and addressing the consequences of the inflows of refugees.
Closely linked to the Syria crisis is the one in Iraq. The Iraq crisis is a Level 3 emergency with 10 million people in need of humanitarian aid, in a country of 36 million. This includes 3.2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and 250 000 refugees from Syria.
The European Commission’s humanitarian budget for Iraq has substantially grown in 2015, responding to increasing needs and reaching the total of €104.65 million. The EU provides protection and relief to both Iraqi displaced persons and Syrian refugees, inside and outside camps in Iraq, as well as other vulnerable populations affected by the conflict. Funding ensures food assistance, basic health care, water and sanitation, protection, shelter and the distribution of essential household items.
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