Projects will focus on education, health care, support of local community, social inclusion, gender equality. The newly adopted assistance package brings the current overall volume of the EU Trust Fund up to over €1 billion which was the goal set by President Juncker on 23 September 2015 at the Informal meeting of the European Council on migration and in the Communication on Managing the Refugee Crisis.
The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini said: "We are giving a lifeline to millions of Syrians inside the country and across the region, helping create a future for Syrian refugees and host communities. By enabling girls and boys to access quality education, we are helping to prevent a lost generation of children whose lives have been devastated by the Syrian conflict. It is a moral duty, and it is also the smartest investment we can do in the security, stability and prosperity of our own region. So, ultimately, it is an investment in our own future."
EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn commented: "Thanks to the EU Trust Fund, children in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey are able to go to school and have access to safe spaces for non-formal education, protection and psycho-social care. Syrian students whose studies were disrupted by the war are receiving scholarships to attend Jordanian, Lebanese, and Turkish universities. Through vocational training and job fairs, Syrian refugees and host communities are improving their chances on the employment market. The EU will continue to respond to the needs arising from the Syria conflict, as testified by the fact that more than €1 billion is being channelled to improve lives via this Trust Fund''.
The EU Trust Fund Board meetings brought together the European Commission, EU Member States and representatives of Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and the World Bank to support Syrian refugees in the region.
The new €275 million aid package focusses on better access to livelihoods, healthcare, education and protection services. It includes the following actions:
- €126.5 million assistance package for Turkey:
o €105 million to enhance the resilience of Syrians under temporary protection and host communities. Access to vocational training, income and employment generation and Turkish language courses are the primary focus.
o €11.5 million for improved access to health care for refugees and host communities.
o €10 million to enhance the skills of refugees and capacity building of local authorities in Turkey.
- €90 million programme for education in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan invested in the future of refugee children and young people affected by the Syrian crisis. The focus is on further improving access to education for the next school year, especially in Lebanon with an allocation of €58 million, and on offering protection from violence, abuse and exploitation. The action will also support certified non-formal education opportunities and enhanced psycho-social support.
- €25 million programme to support vulnerable women and girls in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. This will recognize the important role of women in promoting peace and security, and the need to safeguard the rights, protection and specific needs of women and girls. In Iraq, maternal and childcare facilities built with the support of the EU Trust Fund are now in place.
- €21 million programme to help Serbia manage the migration/refugee crisis along the Balkan route to strengthen the operational capacity of the Serbian authorities to provide adequate accommodation facilities, living conditions and services in order to effectively respond to the needs of migrants/refugees and asylum seekers.
- €10 million programme for Jordan's public health system to ensure increased access to and quality of secondary and tertiary healthcare for Jordanian and Syrian refugees.
- €3 million programme to support Syrian refugees in Armenia by enhancing access to health and psychosocial services, improving housing conditions, increasing access to economic opportunities, and by facilitating the integration of schoolchildren and students.
Since its establishment in December 2014, an increasing share of the EU's resilience support to help Syria's neighbouring countries is provided through the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis.The Trust Fund reinforces the integrated EU aid response to the crisis and primarily addresses longer term resilience and early recovery needs of Syrian refugees and overstretched host communities and their administrations in neighbouring countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. The Trust Fund is a key instrument to deliver the EU's pledges for the crisis made at the London conference on Syria in 2016 and the Brussels conference in April 2017, and also underpins the special EU Compacts agreed with Jordan and Lebanon to assist them in the protracted refugee crisis.
Last week, the Trust Fund welcomed an additional €1.2 million contribution from Poland. The current overall volume of the EU Trust Fund now exceeds €1 billion with contributions from 22 Member States, the EU and Turkey. The Trust Fund is open to other donors.
Including the new decisions, the Fund's budget for a total of €1 billion has been allocated to concrete assistance programmes for refugees and host communities in the region. These programmes support basic education and child protection, training and higher education, better access to healthcare, improved water and waste-water infrastructure, as well as support to resilience, economic opportunities and social inclusion. The scope of the Fund also includes support to internally displaced persons in Iraq fleeing from the interlinked Syria/Iraq/Da'esh crisis, and to provide support in the Western Balkans to non-EU countries affected by the refugee crisis.
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