Humanitarian aidGulf Middle East

400 million additional euros for the Syrians. But messed up at the Commission

Barroso announces an additional 400 million euros for Syria (Credit: EBS/capture)

(BRUSSELS2) In the absence of weapons, Europe will send money. The European Commission has announced the release of an additional 400 million euros to help Syrian refugees and especially neighboring countries hosting these populations.

An extraordinary measure

President Barroso announced this today (Thursday 6 June) personally in a televised message. A rather unusual mode of communication which undoubtedly reflects European concern but also the desire of the President of the Commission to get involved in the matter. In front of " the most dramatic humanitarian crisis of the last ten years ", the Commission " will implement a comprehensive assistance approach with humanitarian and non-humanitarian aid mobilizing an additional tranche of 400 million euros for Syria and neighboring countries, in particular Lebanon and Jordan He explained.

This sum will be added to the 460 million already committed by the Commission since the start of the crisis, and to the 380 million euros paid by EU member states. The total European aid would exceed one billion euros, the largest aid internationally. For José-Manuel Barroso, however, this aid is only a “ palliative ". He thus calls for a political solution which would include a " humanitarian access » and the establishment of a “ transitional government ».

NB: Humanitarian aid includes all measures to enable the survival of these displaced populations. THE " non-humanitarian » brings together aid for health, education, or for local communities and governments.

This statement comes as United Nations agencies will launch tomorrow (Friday 7 June) “ a new call for international donations to finance humanitarian activities in Syria and neighboring countries » explained the Commissioner in charge of Humanitarian Aid, Kristalina Georgieva. She took the opportunity to recall the terrible toll of the Syrian crisis: “ 1,6 million refugees, putting neighboring countries under unsustainable pressure. 7 million people now need humanitarian assistance, more than half of whom are children. »

Confusing situation at the Commission

However, a completely different story was given to the press at midday by those responsible for the European budget. Questioned by our colleague from Le Monde and B2 about Syria, during the mid-day briefing, Patrizio Fiorilli, the spokesperson for the Budget Commissioner (Janusz Lewandowski) warned, very explicitly, that with the rules " of intransigence » current budget, « there is no more margin! ". “If we need anything additional, which has not been provided for in the Union budget, we will have to ask to raise the ceilings” which set the intervention capacity of the European budget. « Pour 2013 we reached the budget ceiling, even if we still had money, the limit has been reached ". " For now everything is covered. But if we need more support in the future we may have a problem. » Apparently between 12:30 p.m. and 15:30 p.m., the date of the communication from the President of the Commission, we were able to find 400 million euros in the blink of an eye. It's for a good cause". And so we can rejoice in it. But in terms of European logic, as an expert on the subject would say, it is “ banging your head against the wall " to understand !


Thomas LeBihan

Student in "Public Affairs European Governance course" at Paris I. Intern at B2. Follows the news of the European Parliament.