This website is an archive of the work of Marietje Schaake in the European Parliament between 2009 and 2019. Marietje can be reached at

Plenary speech on the situation of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries

Please find my press release calling for an EU action plan for a regional emergency action plan for Syria here. The complete text of the joint motion for a resolution on the situation of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries can be found on the website of the European Parliament. The adopted text will be updated shortly. Mr President, the Commissioner mentioned in his introduction that he was here on behalf of the High Representative, Ms Ashton. Mr Commissioner, could you tell us whether she is now at the Friends of Syria meeting that is taking place in Jordan and, if she is not there, why not, and whether she has attended these meetings before? I agree with colleagues that the EU must be much more involved in finding a solution to the violence and the humanitarian crisis in and around Syria, because for over two years we have witnessed how Syrians have been murdered in the most brutal way. The conflict is rapidly becoming increasingly radicalised and the Syrian people are being crushed; a regional disaster is looming. The corpses of boys and men were revealed by the receding waters of a river, hands tied behind their backs, bullet holes in their skulls. Children seek shelter in the arms of their mothers to no avail; there are at least 80 000 people dead, and most of them are civilians. Of course people are fleeing this horrible violence, and enough is enough, but beyond the death and destruction a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented magnitude is unfolding. There are now seven million Syrians who rely on aid, around four and half million are displaced in the country and the number of refugees is expected to rise to three and a half million in the next month. Four and a half thousand cross the border to Lebanon every day. These people are mostly women and children. They need basic help: food, water, shelter, medicine. Girls and women are especially vulnerable. We receive horrific reports of rape, and also of the selling or marrying-off of girls far too young to marry. These girls and women need specific aid. The EU needs a long-term plan, and we must prepare to free up a lot more in emergency aid. The UN will ask for no less than USD three billion to cover the needs only for this year. I believe the External Action Service needs to develop a roadmap for political governance in the liberated areas that includes the possibility of lifting economic sanctions, and we need to seek a UN Security Council mandate that allows for the delivery of humanitarian aid. The Assad Government is using access to aid as a weapon against its people, even though that is against international law. Let us also pressure Russia to be more constructive and stop delivering arms, and let us make sure that countries which promise aid do also transfer the money.