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Parliamentary questions
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18 April 2019
Question for written answer E-002072-19
to the Commission (Vice-President/High Representative)
Rule 130
Laima Liucija Andrikienė (PPE)

 Subject:  VP/HR — EU assistance to returning Syrians
 Answer in writing 

The EU and its Member States have mobilised EUR 17 billion for assistance to Syrians. The majority of funds are attributed outside Syria, including to Lebanon and Jordan. EU support in Syria is limited to emergency humanitarian operations and does not provide cash assistance. The hostilities in Syria have also considerably lessened, enabling the return of refugees. In 2018, as compared with 2017, the UNHCR noted a 10% increase in verified returns to Syria from the region. 75% of refugees hope to return, but returning Syrians seldom benefit from assistance. The financial support of USD 100 per family/month given by the UNHCR to refugees in Lebanon is not offered to returnees once in Syria. This perpetuates refugee status in Lebanon and dissuades families who want to return. The UNHCR recommends assisting repatriation if protection thresholds are met, but these do not require a political transition. Moreover, for these thresholds to be met, no entity of any type must try to impede the return.

1. What is the EU’s interpretation of the UNHCR protection thresholds and their impact on EU assistance to Syrians?

2. How is the EU addressing the fact that its current strategy to provide assistance to Syrian refugees impedes returns?

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