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Syrian crisis: €5.3 billion mobilized by donors for 2021 and beyond at 5th Brussels Conference

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At the fifth Brussels Conference on 'Supporting the future of Syria and the Region' co-chaired by the European Union and the United Nations, the international community pledged €5.3 billion for 2021 and beyondfor Syria and the neighbouring countries hosting the largest Syrian refugee population. Of this amount, €3.7bn was announced by the EU, with €1.12bn coming from the European Commission and €2.6n from EU member states. The EU as a whole remains the largest donor with €24.9bn of humanitarian, stabilization and resilience assistance collectively mobilized since the onset of the crisis in 2011 to address its consequences.

High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: "A decade after Syrians peacefully took to the streets asking for freedom, justice and economic perspectives, those demands are still unmet and the country is in chaos. The EU and its member states have been the largest provider of support to Syrians throughout the past ten years and continue to believe that it is for Syrians to decide on the future of their country. A future in which all Syrians will feel safe, free and have a dignified life. With the Brussels conference, the EU has brought together once again the international community to reaffirm our political and financial support to Syrians and the neighbouring countries and to a political solution to the crisis."

Crisis Management Commissioner Janez Lenarčič added: "Tragically we continue to see a worsening humanitarian situation in Syria. A decade of a devastating conflict continues to affect millions of Syrians including women and children. The international community must not lose sight of the plight of the affected civilians. The EU is stepping up its humanitarian assistance to save lives on the ground. We are renewing our commitment to helping the Syrian people and the hosting communities."

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Neighbourhood and Enlargement Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi said: "After 10 years of conflict in Syria, that is taking a heavy toll on the Syrian population and the neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees, the status quo in the region is untenable. This has been one of the main messages coming out from the Brussels V Conference today. And the EU's support will not stop with the significant financial assistance confirmed today: Our ‘New Agenda for the Mediterranean' foresees an Economic and Investment Plan that will help underpin the long term recovery of the region and help its stabilization."

Over 80 countries and international organisations were represented in the Brussels V Conference, which took place virtually on 29 and 30 March. Participants addressed the current situation in Syria and the region and renewed their support to the UN-led efforts for a comprehensive political solution to the conflict. The Brussels V Conference also provided a unique platform for dialogue with civil society in Syria and the region.

The Co-chairs adopted a statement.

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Background

Since 2017, the Brussels Conferences on 'Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region' have brought together the international community in support of UN efforts towards a political solution to the conflict in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. They have allowed the donor community to pledge vital humanitarian and financial support for the Syrian population and neighbouring countries hosting Syrian refugees. Moreover, the five Conferences have offered a platform to bring representatives from Syrian, regional and international non-governmental and civil society organisations together with policy makers during the 'Days of Dialogue'.  

Day of Dialogue with civil society

During the three live-streamed panel discussions of the Day of Dialogue on 29 March, representatives from Syrian, regional and international non-governmental and civil society organisations exchanged with ministers and senior decision-makers from the EU, the UN, Syria's neighbouring countries and other international partners. Discussions complemented a wide online consultation process that took place in February and March 2021 gathering inputs from over 1,500 individuals and organizations. The recommendations were conveyed by NGO rapporteurs at today's Ministerial meeting.

The Day of Dialogue can still be watched online.

Side and cultural events

From 15 to 26 March, side events hosted by EU member states, partner countries, UN agencies and other international organisations took place online.

The EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis, that has mobilized more than €2.3 billion from the EU, 21 EU member states, UK and Turkey to alleviate the consequences of the crisis since its establishment in December 2014, organized an outdoor photo exhibition from 15 to 30 March, together with ten municipalities of the Brussels' region, displaying portraits of women, men, boys and girls affected by the Syrian crisis, revealing the strength and resilience of exiled Syrians and those who welcome them in Syria's neighbouring countries. Their portraits remain available online.  

The EU, in co-operation with Lagrange Points Brussels, organized four virtual concerts featuring a variety of Syrian musicians as well as Sufi whirling and poetry artists; an online introduction to Syrian cuisine; and a painting exhibition at Lagrange Points Brussels. All videos are available online.

More information

Conference website

Co-chairs' Statement

Financial tracking report

Report on the civil society online consultations

Recordings and pictures: Day of Dialogue and Ministerial meeting

Factsheet: The EU and the Syrian crisis

Responding to the Syrian crisis: factsheets on EU's support in JordanLebanon, Syria and Turkey

Speech by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the Opening Session

Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell at the Press Conference

Exhibition 'Voices from Syria and the Region'

European Commission

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €231 million in pre-financing to Slovenia

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The European Commission has disbursed €231 million to Slovenia in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country's grant allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The pre-financing payment will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Slovenia's recovery and resilience plan. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Slovenia's recovery and resilience plan.

The country is set to receive €2.5 billion in total, consisting of €1.8bn in grants and €705m in loans, over the lifetime of its plan. Today's disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80 billion in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to member states under NextGenerationEU.

The RRF is at the heart of NextGenerationEU which will provide €800bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across member states. The Slovenian plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies. A press release is available online.

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Cyprus

NextGenerationEU: European Commission disburses €157 million in pre-financing to Cyprus

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The European Commission has disbursed €157 million to Cyprus in pre-financing, equivalent to 13% of the country's financial allocation under the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF). The pre-financing payment will help to kick-start the implementation of the crucial investment and reform measures outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan. The Commission will authorise further disbursements based on the implementation of the investments and reforms outlined in Cyprus' recovery and resilience plan.

The country is set to receive €1.2 billion in total over the lifetime of its plan, with €1 billion provided in grants and €200m in loans. Today's disbursement follows the recent successful implementation of the first borrowing operations under NextGenerationEU. By the end of the year, the Commission intends to raise up to a total of €80bn in long-term funding, to be complemented by short-term EU-Bills, to fund the first planned disbursements to member states under NextGenerationEU. Part of NextGenerationEU, the RRF will provide €723.8bn (in current prices) to support investments and reforms across member states.

The Cypriot plan is part of the unprecedented EU response to emerge stronger from the COVID-19 crisis, fostering the green and digital transitions and strengthening resilience and cohesion in our societies. A press release is available online.

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Belgium

EU Cohesion policy: Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy receive €373 million to support health and social services, SMEs and social inclusion

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The Commission has granted €373 million to five European Social Fund (ESF) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) operational programmes (OPs) in Belgium, Germany, Spain and Italy to help the countries with coronavirus emergency response and repair in the framework of REACT-EU. In Belgium, the modification of the Wallonia OP will make available an additional €64.8m for the acquisition of medical equipment for health services and innovation.

The funds will support small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in developing e-commerce, cybersecurity, websites and online stores, as well as the regional green economy through energy efficiency, protection of the environment, development of smart cities and low-carbon public infrastructures. In Germany, in the Federal State of Hessen, €55.4m will support health-related research infrastructure, diagnostic capacity and innovation in universities and other research institutions as well as research, development and innovation investments in the fields of climate and sustainable development. This amendment will also provide support to SMEs and funds for start-ups through an investment fund.

In Sachsen-Anhalt, €75.7m will facilitate cooperation of SMEs and institutions in research, development and innovation, and provide investments and working capital for micro-enterprises affected by the coronavirus crisis. Moreover, the funds will allow investments in the energy efficiency of enterprises, support digital innovation in SMEs and acquiring digital equipment for schools and cultural institutions. In Italy, the national OP ‘Social Inclusion' will receive €90m to promote the social integration of people experiencing severe material deprivation, homelessness or extreme marginalisation, through ‘Housing First' services that combine the provision of immediate housing with enabling social and employment services.

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In Spain, €87m will be added to the ESF OP for Castilla y León to support the self-employed and workers who had their contracts suspended or reduced due to the crisis. The money will also help hard-hit companies avoid layoffs, especially in the tourism sector. Finally, the funds are needed to allow essential social services to continue in a safe way and to ensure educational continuity throughout the pandemic by hiring additional staff.

REACT-EU is part of NextGenerationEU and provides €50.6bn additional funding (in current prices) to Cohesion policy programmes over the course of 2021 and 2022. Measures focus on supporting labour market resilience, jobs, SMEs and low-income families, as well as setting future-proof foundations for the green and digital transitions and a sustainable socio-economic recovery.

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