EU assistance to Jordan and Lebanon is urgent, say S&Ds
Commenting on the current unsustainable situation in Jordan and Lebanon, S&D MEP and vice-president for foreign affairs, Victor Boştinaru, said:
"There are now more than 2 million refugees in two small countries which represents between 10 to 30 % of their population. The UN's 2015 humanitarian appeal for Syrian refugees was funded by just 61% by the end of the year. A lot was promised in the February London Conference on Syria but few of these commitments have as yet been completed. Funding shortages means that the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in Lebanon and Jordan live well below the UN's poverty line. The generosity of these communities is high but this might not be enough. If we fail to help them, they could become the refugees of tomorrow.
"Jordan sets an example with its important efforts towards democracy and Lebanon is a stable, but yet fragile state and both are surrounded by many threats. It is essential to support their economic and social resilience in these difficult times.
"The EU has been a leading donor in the region but we have to heed to the sense of urgency and take difficult decisions. We also have to understand that if we want a comprehensive strategy to tackle the migration crisis, cooperation with Turkey is highly important but it cannot be our only partner.
"Therefore, I urge the European Commission for the pledges to be disbursed with and for the "EU Compacts" to be finalised as soon as possible in order to immediately strengthen our assistance and cooperation with them using the full range of EU policies.
"Finally I will also encourage the Commission and the European Parliament to respond immediately to the Jordanian request to grant a special arrangement on Rules of Origin, which we hope can help provide new jobs for Jordanians and Syrian refugees alike."