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Call for a stronger European response to the Syrian refugee crisis

“Those fleeing conflict in Syria are entitled to international protection and that protection is usually best provided in countries close to home”. These neighbouring countries, however, “cannot provide that protection without extensive external support”, including sufficient financial assistance and humanitarian pathways for admission/resettlement of refugees.

In adopting a draft resolution on a stronger European response to the Syrian refugee crisis, based on the report by Annette Groth, (Germany, UEL), the Committee on Refugees pointed out that Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey are under “extreme social, political and economic strain”. From the refugees’ perspective, the problems are many: uncertain legal status, lack of decent housing, food shortages, lack of work permits, etc. From the host communities’ perspective, problems include rent increases, higher food prices and competition in the labour market.

In the circumstances, it is not surprising that many Syrian refugees “are turning to Europe, attracted by its reputation for respecting human rights and the rule of law and its far greater prosperity,” said the parliamentarians.

The draft resolution emphasises that the Syrian refugee crisis is the responsibility “not only of neighbouring states and of Europe but of the international community as a whole”. It calls upon other states, including in the Middle East region, to take a similar approach based on providing financial aid and humanitarian pathways for admission of Syrian refugees.

Welcoming the progress made in the context of recent initiatives, the committee calls for the international community to do even more if current efforts are insufficient. It also stressed that Palestinian refugees living in Syria have been particularly badly affected by the conflict and ask for a generous response to the emergency appeal by UNRWA.