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

Press release: MEP Schaake ALDE/D66: EU needs to support Libanon

Dutch Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) calls upon EU foreign policy chief Ashton to immediately give extra humanitarian aid to Lebanon to provide shelter to hundreds of thousands Syrian refugees. Schaake sent a letter to Ashton which was supported by many MEP's from several political parties. The MEP's fear that if Lebanon cannot absorb and shelter the still increasing stream of Syrians, escalation is a real risk. Schaake: "It is hard to imagine but the violence in Syria still increases, 4500 people a day cross the border to Lebanon. Because of that, humanitarian aid in Syria as well as in neighboring countries is more difficult every day. We cannot afford additional catastrophe or the risk of more spill-over effects of the war. There should be no shortage of tents, sanitary facilities, food, medicines, water and education for children. The EU has done a lot in humanitarian aid, but unfortunately it is not enough." Political agenda Schaake personally witnessed the situation in the Lebanese Bekaa-Valley, while visiting a refugee camp, and promised to put the issue high on the political agenda. In the letter to Ashton the MEP's unambiguously ask for support. "So far the EU did not take in Syrian refugees. The least we can do is to give neighboring countries our full support in providing safety and roofs above the heads of all the families", Schaake says. Explosive situation Approximately 1 million Syrians now live in Lebanon, a country with a population of 4 million Lebanese. Schaake: "The Lebanese people have shown remarkable resourcefulness in offering shelter in their own homes, until the last bed was given. Some people have been staying for two years now. That understandably leads to tensions. There is competition for jobs and the infrastructure is highly pressured. Also the conflict in Syria can well explode. Lebanon has diverse religions and ethnics. Over all it is a miracle that it all went well thus far under these circumstances." Syria The end of the Syrian war is still far away. Diplomatic initiatives did not work and the discussion focuses on whether to arm the rebellions or not. "Absolute priority should be to give as much humanitarian aid to Syrian citizens as possible. At this point we depend too much on the regime. Some European member states carefully bring in limited aid through surrounding countries. For a long time now, I have been asking for a clear UN-mandate for unlimited access for aid. That would make an enormous difference", Schaake says. The General Assembly of the United Nations seems to take action in that direction, on initiative of the Arab League. The European Parliament will have a debate on the situation in Lebanon and the shelter of Syrian refugees next month, on initiative of MEP Marietje Schaake. ------ For more information: Marietje Schaake 0031 6 3037 7921 or her press officer Anna Sophia Posthumus 0032 484 201 518