Middle East

EU pledges $657M for Syrian refugees

Bloc’s foreign policy chief rules out cooperation with Syrian regime unless it stops repression, changes course

Agnes Szucs  | 30.03.2021 - Update : 30.03.2021
EU pledges $657M for Syrian refugees


The EU on Tuesday pledged €560 million ($657 million) in support of the Syrian people.

“I’m proud to announce that the European Union is reconfirming its pledge,” the bloc’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said at the opening of the donor conference titled Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region.

The EU top diplomat announced that the bloc promised €560 million from the European budget for 2022 that is “the same amount that we pledged at the Syria conference for 2021.”

Borrell reassured the Syrian people of the bloc’s “continuing commitment and solidarity”.

He thanked host countries for their “solidarity and generosity” and said that the EU stayed “committed to supporting the 5.6 million refugees and their communities in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, as well as in Iraq and Egypt.”

Borrell also pointed out that the bloc has so far provided €25 billion ($29 billion) in assistance to address the consequences of the Syrian crisis.

At the same time, he said the EU is not willing to be a partner in the reconstruction efforts of the Syrian regime.

“The present regime offers no future to the Syrian people. It makes no contribution to the stability of the region. Unless it changes, it cannot be a partner to the European Union or to the international community,” Borrell said.

“We cannot and we will not normalize anything while violence and repression continues,” he added.

Speaking at the same conference, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres welcomed the pledge, but said he was “also saddened that we mark a decade of bloody war in Syria.”

He also warned that “13 million people need humanitarian assistance to survive this year,” which is over 20% more compared to last year, and the majority of the population faces hunger and many of them rely on the humanitarian aid brought by the UN and its partners.

This is the fifth time that the EU hosts this donor conference.

At the fourth Brussels conference last June, international donors pledged €6.9 billion ($7.7 billion) to support Syrian refugees and host countries.

Syria has been ravaged by a civil war since early 2011 since the regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests.

More than 400,000 people were killed, and more than 12 million needed to flee their homes, becoming refugees or internally displaced people over the past ten years, according to the EU.

Turkey currently hosts nearly 4 million Syrians, making it the world's top refugee-hosting country. It is also providing protection and humanitarian assistance to more than 5 million internally displaced people in northern Syria.

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