The EU and the crisis in Syria
Ten years into the conflict, the situation in Syria is still critical, with millions of Syrians displaced and in need of humanitarian protection and assistance. The level of violence remains high and there is little progress in sight towards a sustainable resolution of the conflict.
On the contrary, Syria today finds itself on a trajectory of protracted instability, further compounded by the socio economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey have shown extraordinary solidarity towards the refugees, as well as other host countries in the region such as Egypt and Iraq. They continue to require assistance to meet the growing needs of the refugees and the communities hosting them.
Only a credible political solution **in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué **will ensure a peaceful future and sustainable stability for Syria and the region. For this reason, the EU continues to work in support of a UNmediated, inclusive, credible, Syrian-led and Syrian-owned dialogue in Geneva as the only way forward towards a genuine political solution and a peaceful, prosperous future for the Syrian people. The EU remains actively engaged with all regional and international partners and with Syrian civil society to support the UN-led Geneva process. The EU also continues to support the Syrian population, as well as refugees and the communities that host them in neighbouring countries, with humanitarian, stabilisation, development and economic assistance. The European Union firmly believes that sustainable peace goes hand in hand with the restoration of Syria’s social fabric. This will only be achieved when all Syrians will feel safe, free and able to live in dignity in their own country.
*"Our immediate concern is to address the humanitarian needs of the Syrian people, to work towards a lasting nation-wide ceasefire and to bring about a comprehensive political solution. The Brussels Conference is an effective tool for the EU to engage with all relevant actors in support of the UN’s political and humanitarian efforts.” - *Josep Borrell High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Vice-President of the Commission
The right to** safe, voluntary and dignified return** is an individual right of refugees and internally displaced persons. The EU supports the Syrian refugees and their aspiration of living safely at home but, for them to be able to return to their country, the necessary conditions need to be in place. The EU works closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on the conditions that are needed for organised returns to be safe. Access to the entire territory is needed for UNHCR and other mandated humanitarian organisations to monitor the situation. These requirements are currently not yet in place. Until there is clear evidence that the necessary protection conditions are met, it will be essential to maintain asylum space and to continue strengthening the resilience of refugees and the communities that host them. This is why the EU continues to show solidarity with and support for refugee-hosting countries.
The EU’s assistance in response to the Syrian crisis does not only benefit Syrian refugees but also the Jordanian, Lebanese, and Turkish people, helping to create job opportunities, infrastructure including schools, as well as better health and water services.
Once a political solution is reached, the EU will help Syrians “win the peace”. However, there can be no shortcuts in the way towards a truly sustainable peace.
The EU will be ready to assist in the reconstruction of Syria only once a comprehensive, genuine and inclusive political transition is firmly underway, negotiated by the Syrian parties on the basis of UNSC Resolution 2254 and the 2012 Geneva Communiqué.
The EU’s reconstruction funds cannot be invested in a context that would exacerbate pre-war inequalities and deepen long-standing grievances. The rule of law and basic human rights must be guaranteed to ensure that reconstruction efforts will benefit all Syrians. Only then can reconstruction lead to genuine reconciliation and lasting peace.