Funding to the White Helmets

Written Questions

On 17 May, Marietje Schaake submitted parliamentary written questions on funding to the Syrian White Helmets to Vice-President/High Representative of Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini. Please find the questions below.

In March, President Trump froze a €170 million package of aid to Syria which included money for the White Helmets. The White Helmets provide life-saving assistance to civilians targeted in Syria’s conflict and continuously risk their lives during Syrian and Russian airstrikes.  

About a third of global financial support to the White Helmets previously came from the United States. The cut in US funding puts projects such as demining and the restoration of water and power in jeopardy. In response, Prime Minister Theresa May indicated last week that the UK is considering increasing its financial aid to the White Helmets (1).  

1. Has the HR/VP been in contact with US authorities regarding their motives to cut aid and funding for Syria and to the White Helmets in particular and if so can she elaborate on these discussions?

2. Does the EU provide funding to the White Helmets and if so, how much exactly and under which financial instrument?

3. Will the HR/VP also consider either increasing or starting financial support to the White Helmets to fill the gap in funding left by the US?