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The European Union humanitarian response in Syria

The EU is leading the international response to what has been considered the world’s largest humanitarian and security disaster.

The Syrian conflict has its roots in the up-risings erupted in March 2011. From that moment the situation in Syria has deteriorated to huge proportions, as a result of this difficult and protracted crisis, the European Union, in cooperation with its Member states, mobilized so far over 2.8 billion euro for relief and recovery assistance to civilians in the country and to refugees in the neighboring countries.

The financial aid, coming from the Union aims to relieve all the humanitarian needs in all geographical areas of the country. The EU funds are, indeed, employed to treat and evacuate the wounded, guarantee provision of water, sanitation and hygiene, health, shelter and food assistance.

The European Union’s Humanitarian Response

From the over €2.8 billion mobilized, the financial assistance to this critical context includes more than
– 1.25 billion euro in humanitarian assistance from Member States
– 615 million euro from the Commission’s humanitarian aid budget and
– nearly 700 million euro dispatched through other EU instruments coming not from the humanitarian strand.

All the assistance will be channeled and managed through the European Commission’s humanitarian partners. Indeed, UN agencies, the Red Cross/Red Crescent family and international non-governmental organizations are the main key actors engaged to put into practice and concrete responses the financial aid.

In-kind assistance has also been provided to Turkey and Jordan. In fact the Union Civil Protection Mechanism has been activated in order to bring relief and support to these neighboring countries. Concrete measures have been adopted such as delivery of ambulances, blankets, heaters and other items for a total value €2.5 million.

On the 29th of July, the Council also approved a Commission proposal to increase cooperation and development assistance concerning the more medium-term needs in neighboring countries, dealing with the unprecedented flow of Syrian refugees. 125 million euro in commitments are now available in addition to the 75 million euro already available under the European Neighborhood Instrument (ENI), bringing the total development aid support from the ENI to €200 million in 2014.

The main characteristics of these two European Instruments?

The ENI programme continues the 2007-2013 ENPI programme and aims at promoting enhanced political cooperation and progressive economic integration between the Union and the partner countries. Some of its objectives are: promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms, the rule of law, principles of equality, establishing deep and sustainable democracy and promoting confidence building and other measures contributing to security and the prevention and settlement of conflicts.

The Union Civil Protection Mechanism foresees grants for projects aiming to improve the effectiveness of systems for preventing, preparing for and responding to major emergencies. More precisely, this instrument intends to achieve a high level of protection against disasters by preventing or reducing their potential effects, by fostering a culture of prevention and by improving cooperation between the civil protection and other relevant services.


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