Brussels, 9 September 2015 - Syrian refugee crisis: Today, the recently established EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis launched its first actions in support of Syrian refugees. With €17.5 million, 240,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, most of them children, will receive schooling opportunities and food security through monthly vouchers. For these actions in Turkey, the EU Trust Fund is using contributions coming from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA).
Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission said: ''Syria's neighbours are giving an impressive contribution to hosting and welcoming those who flee from the war. As the Regional Trust Fund kicks off with its first concrete action, the EU shows we care. We care for the Syrian people and for those who are taking responsibility in helping them. And it is no accident that the first contract opened through the Fund deals with schools and education. Syria is losing a whole generation to war and exile. A pen and a book can give hope to Syrian children. They are the best weapon against hatred and radicalisation. They can give a future to a whole country.''
Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn stated: "Helping Turkey in its huge task to continue hosting almost 2 million Syrian refugees is the most effective means to turn despair and illegal trafficking into hope and resilience. As we are now witnessing daily, the conflict in Syria has direct consequences for Europe. We need to help the refugees where they are, in Europe, but equally important in the countries around Syria who are shouldering the bulk of the burden. Providing refugee families with the opportunity to send their children to school and to provide for them is the most effective means to prevent the horrible images we had to face in recent days. The majority of refugees are children and youths, whose future holds little prospect and risks becoming a fertile breeding ground for radicalization and illegal migration if we don’t boost our response further. The EU Trust Fund is a new and innovative way of pooling our resources into one single and flexible mechanism responding together with our Member States to this unprecedented crisis in our southern neighbourhood that has now expanded to the EU through the large refugee flows. "
To deliver this new assistance, two contracts were signed to that end in Brussels today, with UNICEF and the World Food Programme respectively.
The first contract, worth €12.5 million, will improve access to inclusive and quality education and provide psycho-sociological support to Syrian children living in Turkey, especially in host communities. Particular attention will be given to the needs of girls as well as children with disabilities.
It is expected that more than 200,000 Syrian refugee children will benefit from Arabic teaching, psychosocial support, educational materials and refurbished school facilities. There will be a special focus on access to safe spaces in host communities for Syrian children and adolescents, especially girls, to counter the risk of sexual and gender based violence. In addition, 3,700 Syrian and Turkish volunteer teachers will receive training and monetary incentives to enhance quality of education in Arabic.
Through the second action, a financing of €5 million will allow up to 41,000 Syrians residing in three camps to receive monthly food vouchers, complementing in this way the on-going EU humanitarian assistance, and helping to limit disruptions in aid delivery.
In line with the strategic orientations and priorities for the EU Trust Fund’s first years of operation as adopted by its first Board meeting on 29 May, these actions will concretely contribute to the implementation of the EU regional strategy for Syria, Iraq as well as the ISIL/ Da’esh threat adopted by the Council of the European Union on 16 March, notably to its objective of strengthening local resilience capacities in neighbouring countries affected by the refugee flows resulting from the Syrian conflict.
Since the start of the conflict in Syria, more than 11.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes, including almost 4 million that fled to neighbouring countries, half of them to Turkey. All in all, the effort made by the EU budget to support Turkey facing the consequences of the crisis in Syria amounts to some €175 million, out of which €55 million already disbursed through different instruments.
More about the EU Regional Trust Fund set up in response to the crisis in Syria: http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/neighbourhood/countries/syria/madad/index_en.htm
The EU is a leading donor in the response to the Syrian crisis with around € 4 billion mobilised by the European Commission and Member States collectively in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance to Syrians in their country and to refugees and their host communities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.
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