EU approves half-billion euro fund to support refugees from Syria
The European Parliament Budget Committee gave its green light to top up support to refugees and host communities in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon in response to the ongoing Syrian crisis.
€485 million are earmarked to fund the continuation of the two main EU humanitarian support actions in Turkey, the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) and the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE).
A total of €100 million will be used to support host communities and refugees (Syrian refugees and Palestinian refugees from Syria) in Jordan and Lebanon.
In 2020, the conflict in Syria has entered into its 10th year.
With no immediate end in sight, this crisis continues to threathen the stability of the entire region, in particular its neighbouring countries Jordan and Lebanon which are hosting the largest number of refugees per capita in the world.
Lebanon is facing an acute economic and financial crisis, with the Government defaulting on a Eurobond repayment and announcing that it will restructure all its foreign and domestic currency denominated bonds. The current level of debt is approximately 170 % of GDP and recent data indicates that the economy contracted by 6,9 % in 2019.
In Jordan, the Covid-19 crisis is likely to push the country from weak growth into a deep recession, impeding domestic and external demand, in particular in the tourism sector, which accounts for around 11 % of GDP. The crisis will also exert pressure on public spending, further worsening Jordan’s fiscal position.
Under the EU-Turkey Statement, the Commission and Member States committed in two tranches €6 billion in EU assistance to refugees in Turkey for 2016-2019, delivered through the Facility for Refugees in Turkey. The operational envelope of this funding has been committed in full and contracting will be finalised in the course of 2020. Disbursements reached EUR 3,2 billion as of end-April 2020.
The second tranche of €3 billion has been programmed to ensure Facility sustainability and a gradual managed take-over of Facility-funded initiatives by the Turkish authorities. However, Turkish authorities are not yet able to provide provide cash assistance to the most vulnerable of the approximately 4 million refugees in Turkey in the medium- to long-term. At the March 2019 EU-Turkey Association Council, Turkey requested EU support beyond the Facility to support refugees. Several Member States also asked to continue support to refugees in Turkey in recent months.
In this context, there European Commissione had an urgent need to provide €485 million to fund the continuation of the two main EU humanitarian support actions, the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) and the Conditional Cash Transfer for Education (CCTE).