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

Schaake: EU should play leading role in ending Syrian conflict

The war in Syria demands a political solution in which the EU should act more prominently. Because of the strong regional character of the conflict, in which the country itself has become a chess board of geopolitical power play, a military solution is impossible. Dutch Member of European Parliament, Marietje Schaake (D66/ALDE): “the threat of military action has lead to movements from Russia and Iran, they should become part of the solution and stop blocking and frustrating all efforts. The EU has to play a leading role in pushing for solutions, currently Washington and Moskow are pulling all the strings. We urge EU high representative Catherine Ashton to build a strong European strategy for diplomatic efforts and humanitarian aid, including plans to contain the looming regional war in the Middle-East. And we should engage with Iran directly.” Threat of force While the credibility and feasability of the Russian plan to bring the Syrian chemical waepons stocks under international protection and to destroy them is being explored, a credible threat of military force against Assad remains necessary, MEP Schaake stresses, as the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the situation in Syria by a large majority. “There’s a broad consensus here that the gas attack by the Assad regime cannot go unpunished, several sources strongly point in his direction.” The resolution calls for “a clear, strong, targeted and united response, not excluding eventual detterent measures”. Crimes continue Schaake fears that the chemical weapons discussion pushes other crimes which continue incessantly to the background. “On average, 150 people get killed in Syria every day, childeren die of hunger and people lack medical care. There are at least 2 milion refugees in the regio, and another 4 milion internally displaced Syrians. We cannot ignore this. Schaake acknowledges the troubling growth of extremism among the rebels but warns for a situaiton in which this fear is exaggerated and keeps blocking an international solution. “We’re giving the people reasons to blame us”, says the MEP. Responsibility of the Security Couincil The European Parliament wants to await the investigation report by the UN inspectors and demands that the UN Security Council will take its responsibilities, “on the basis of all the instruments provided for in the United Nations Charter”. Schaake: “We think the Security Council could authorize the use of force, in line with the French proposal. If the Council, despite recent diplomatic movements keeps failing to act, the UN Charter could provde a way out. The United Nations General Assembly can act to bypass the Security Council and seize the initiative by the “uniting for peace” mechanism, and force a breakthrough. Click here to watch Marietje Schaake's plenary speech on the situation in Syria.