The EU and its member states should continue providing support to respond to the massive Syrian refugee crisis and make sure the funding arrives where it is most needed, said MEPs who met with Syrian refugees in Jordan this week. The delegation also called on Jordan and other neighbouring countries to keep their borders open to endangered civilians and continue to offer them safe haven.
A delegation from the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee visited the main Zaatari refugee camp on Tuesday. This camp, 12 km from the Syrian border, currently hosts about 70,000 refugees, mostly women and children.
Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, Spain), who led the delegation, Hubert Pirker (EPP, Austria), Marian-Jean Marinescu (EPP, Romania) and Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, The Netherlands) met with the UN Refugee Agency and other humanitarian and relief organisations working in the field, and talked with refugees in the Zaatari camp.
Speaking on behalf of the Parliament delegation, lead MEP Juan Fernando López Aguilar said, "We are deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis in Syria and on the heavy strain it is putting on neighbouring countries. We praise the Jordanian authorities and local communities for their solidarity in hosting Syrian refugees who have fled the 23-month-old conflict, as well as the assistance provided by other Arab and Gulf countries."
"We would especially like to thank the amazing work done on the ground by the UN Refugee Agency, humanitarian organisations and NGOs having to deal with such extraordinary number of arrivals in such a short period of time.
"It is crucial that Jordan and other neighbouring countries keep their borders open to endangered civilians and continue to offer them safe haven. As a long term solution, the setting up of a regional protection programme should be a priority and it should be extended to other countries in the region."
"We ask on the EU and its member states to continue providing support to respond to this exceptional humanitarian crisis, which is worsening by the day. The EU is a major donor in the region and it has provided more funding in the last pledge conference in Kuwait. It should now honour its commitments and make sure the funding arrives where it is most needed."
Outside the camp, MEPs made home visits to Syrian refugee families living in Mafraq. The delegation also went to the Mafraq transit facility and the Thnebe border crossing and visited registration centres for asylum seekers in Amman and Irbid.
The delegation visit took place as Syrian refugees are arriving in unprecedented numbers in Jordan. The UN Refugee Agency says over 250,000 Syrian refugees are registered or awaiting registration in Jordan, and the daily arrivals are expected to increase steadily.
TV images of the visit to the refugee camp, interviews with MEPs and a summary of the press conference are available to audiovisual media on the European Parliament's audiovisual webpage (link to the right).
For audiovisual material requests :
Europe by Satellite TV Producer
Mobile phone: +32 498 98 34 27