EU – International Migrants Day 2018: €1.6 billion for Syrian refugees and local communities

These new projects will facilitate access to education and basic health care services for the most vulnerable people, provide livelihood opportunities and strengthen mother and child care services. The EU is committed and determined to assist the people in need and will continue to support our partner countries – Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey – providing vital help to refugees



The history of humankind is a history of migration. For thousands of years people have migrated from one place to another, for a variety of reasons, and continue to do so: Today, there are 258 million international migrants worldwide.

On International Migrants Day, the European Union reaffirms its enduring commitment to protect migrants’ human rights, to prevent perilous irregular journeys and ensure opportunities for legal and safe pathways instead.

In order to do this, we are working with all our partners around the world – countries of origin, transit and destination and international organisations. Migration requires global, cooperative alliances: No country can address migration on its own – neither in Europe nor elsewhere in the world. This is the core message of the  Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which will provide the global framework for improving migration management. It is by working together, in the spirit of shared responsibility, that we can jointly turn migration from a common challenge into a shared opportunity.

The European Union’s comprehensive approach on migration is built in the same vein: seeking to address the drivers of irregular migration; fighting against smuggling of migrants and trafficking in human beings; ensure adequate protection for those in need, better manage Europe’s external borders, while enabling legal migration channels. For the benefit of all of us.”


With the  European Agenda on Migration, the European Commission proposed on 13 May 2015 a far-reaching strategy, to equip the EU with the tools to better manage migration in all its aspects, from immediate challenges, as well as in the medium and long term.

The EU’s comprehensive approach on migration is delivering on all fronts: deeper cooperation with partner countries; better-protected external borders; and more effective tools to manage migration inside the EU.

Internally, the European Union has set up effective tools to manage migration. A lot of efforts have been invested into the reform of the EU’s asylum rules, with 5 out of the Commission’s 7 initial proposals ready for adoption. For stronger border management, the Commission has recently proposed to reinforce the European Border and Coast Guard as well.

EU funding under the Asylum Migration and Integration Fund helps Member States’ strengthen labour market integration and social inclusion. Projects under the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme are putting specific priorities on protecting and supporting victims amongst vulnerable groups, including migrant women and children. With the proposal for the next long-term EU budget, the Commission put efficient migration management as one of its top mainstreamed priorities across different policy areas.

In its external dimension, the integrated, “whole of the route” approach has led to major achievements by the EU and its Member States.

EU Operations active in the Mediterranean have contributed to saving over 690,000 lives at sea. The European Union is further strengthening cooperation with countries of origin, transit and destination as well as international organisations to assist migrants and refugees, to ensure the respect of their human rights, improve their living conditions as well as fight smugglers and traffickers. At the same time, work to ensure legal pathways is under way with more than 44,000 resettlement places offered in the past three years and more than 50,000 expected by autumn 2019, as well as with ongoing discussions on an improved Blue Card for highly skilled third-country nationals and the preparation of pilot projects for labour migration.

The trilateral cooperation by the African Union, European Union and the United Nations has assisted over 39,000 people to return voluntarily from Libya to their countries of origin in the past two years. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Return has assisted over 55,000 people with post-arrival and reintegration support so far.

To address root causes and offer socio-economic opportunities in countries of origin and transit, the EU’s Trust Fund for Africa has mobilised more than €4 billion for important initiatives on the ground.

European Commission and the High Representative

For more information

§ [Q&A – The Global Compact on Migration]

§ [Managing migration: Commission calls time on asylum reform stalling]

§ [Factsheet – Central Mediterranean Route]

§ [Factsheet – Western Mediterranean Route]

EU regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis

Brussels, 17 December 2018 – The EU Trust Fund adopted projects worth €122 million to support access to education and basic health care for refugees and vulnerable local communities in Jordan, to provide livelihood opportunities in Turkey and make available critical health care services in Iraq.

In view of the continued impact of the crisis and the current 5.6 million Syrian refugees, the Trust Fund Board is confirming its commitment to continue the support to Syrian refugees and their host communities. With this new package, the overall value of EU regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis so far mobilised, reaches €1.6 billion. Currently 55 projects have been contracted.

EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn commented: 
“These new projects will facilitate access to education and basic health care services for the most vulnerable people, provide livelihood opportunities and strengthen mother and child care services. The EU is committed and determined to assist the people in need and will continue to support our partner countries providing vital help to refugees.”

The new €122 million aid package includes the following actions:

☛ €83 million for access to education and basic health care, to support livelihoods through cultural heritage development, and to provide higher education opportunities to Syrian refugees and vulnerable communities in Jordan;

☛ €27 million to provide livelihood opportunities in the fields of agricultural development and through micro-loans, as well as social protection and higher education to Syrian refugees and vulnerable communities in Turkey;

☛ €9.5 million to strengthen mother and child critical health care services, as well as support to livelihoods through cultural heritage development in Iraq. 

At the board meeting Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Estonia, have made new pledges for a total of €28.4 million.The Commission pledged already at least €220 million to the Trust Fund in 2019 in line with its pledge from the  April 2018 Brussels conference on the future of Syria and the region.

The assistance package was adopted by the EU Trust Fund’s Board, which brings together the European Commission, EU Member States, members of the European Parliament and representatives from Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and the World Bank.


Since its establishment in December 2014, an increasing share of the EU’s support to help Syrian refugees and support Syria’s neighbouring countries cope with the refugee crisis is provided through the  EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis. The Trust Fund reinforces an integrated EU aid response to the crisis and primarily addresses longer-term resilience and early recovery needs of Syrian refugees, host communities and their administrations in neighbouring countries such as Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

The Fund also underpins the EU Compacts agreed with Jordan and Lebanon to better assist them in the protracted refugee crisis. With the new package adopted now, the Fund has delivered a total of €522 million for  Lebanon, more than €500 million for Turkey and more than €300 million for  Jordan, in 4 years of operations, much more than initially foreseen.

Overall, €1.6 billion has been mobilised and pledged from the EU budget and contributions of 22 EU Member States and Turkey. Almost all of this has now been adopted by the Board and turned around to finance concrete projects helping refugees and host countries alike.

The Trust Fund’s programmes support basic education and child protection for refugees, training and higher education, better access to healthcare, improved water and waste-water infrastructure, as well as support to resilience, women empowerment and fighting gender based violence, economic opportunities and social stability. The scope of the Fund includes support to internally displaced persons in Iraq and support in the Western Balkans to non-EU countries affected by the refugee crisis.

For more information


§ [EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis]

§ [Factsheet: EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis]

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