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EU needs to adapt its Middle-East strategy

Press release

Today the Foreign Affairs Council discussed the situation in Syria, Yemen and Libya. While adopting conclusions on both Syria and Yemen, Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (D66/ALDE) calls on the EU Member States to urgently come up with a comprehensive strategy in the Middle East. Schaake: "In all three countries discussed today, the situation has been deteriorating for months. In both Syria and Yemen, the EU is the largest humanitarian donor, but towards both countries Member State governments fail to adopt a coordinated, common approach. The EU needs to leverage its role as the largest financial donor to demand a say and role in political negotiations."

Ambiguous EU policy

Schaake: "In Yemen, the EU's policy is incoherent. Millions of civilians and children are in danger of imminent death not only as a result of bombardments, but also through starvation. While providing millions of euro's in humanitarian support, various EU member states continue to sell arms to countries such as Saudi Arabia who continue to indiscriminately bomb Yemen's civilian population. It is a toxic spiral. Similarly in Libya, where the economy is on the verge of collapse, the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) is challenged by rival groups and the Kremlin is increasingly meddling and IS lays dormant, the EU almost exclusively provides Libya with financial support to train its coastguard and to seal borders from migrants."

Crunch time for EU Middle East policy

Schaake: "In the current state of the international order, with Trump, Putin and Erdogan at its borders, the EU needs to come up with a fully-fledged, independent strategy for countries such as Syria, Libya and Yemen. If the EU does not better leverage and condition its humanitarian and economic support now, its credibility as an international actor will be fatally damaged."