Towards an even stronger EU role for Syria, reinforcing EU efforts to build peace
March 15, 2017
The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini and the European Commission adopted a Joint Communication proposing a forward- looking EU strategy for Syria. The Communication defines how the European Union can play a stronger role in contributing to a lasting political solution in Syria under the existing UN-agreed framework. It also looks at how the EU can continue its assistance to over 13 million people in need in Syria, help build resilience and stability in the country, and support post-agreement reconstruction and the voluntary, dignified and safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons once a credible political transition is underway.
“The Joint Communication adopted today strengthens not only our current engagement and support for a political solution to the war as the only way we can bring peace back to Syria, but also what the European Union could do in a post-agreement context in which reconstruction can start. And there is much the European Union is ready to do, together with the United Nations and the rest of the international community. The Syrians want peace, they deserve it, as they want and deserve to finally have the possibility to shape the future of their country. We are at their side to support the future of Syria,” said the EU High Representative Federica Mogherini.
The Joint Communication presents the current political, security and humanitarian context in Syria and the state of play of the EU’s assistance in response to the Syria crisis. It contains an assessment of the risks and threats posed by the continuation of the war to the EU’s core interests, regional and global stability, as well as the definition of a set of clear objectives for the EU’s policy for Syria, which include:
Ending the war through a political transition process negotiated by the parties to the conflict with the support of the UN Special Envoy for Syria and key international and regional actors;
Promoting a meaningful and inclusive transition in Syria through support for the strengthening of the political opposition, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communiqué;
Promoting democracy, human rights and the freedom of speech by strengthening Syrian civil society organisations;
Promoting a national reconciliation process based on peace-building efforts and countering violent extremism and sectarianism, including an approach to transitional justice that should include accountability for war crimes;
Saving lives by addressing the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable Syrians in a timely, effective, efficient and principled manner;
Supporting the resilience of the Syrian population, as well as of the institutions and Syrian society.
As a next step, the Communication proposes clear lines of action to implement these objectives, in close coordination with regional partners and international organisations, and to continue the diplomatic work and post-agreement planning in order to ensure that international support is ready, coordinated and can be delivered effectively when the appropriate moment comes.
High Representative Mogherini will present the Joint Communication to EU Foreign Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council on 3 April; it will also be presented to the European Parliament. The Communication will also serve as an important input for the Brussels Conference “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region” on 5 April 2017 that the EU will co-chair with the UN, Germany, Kuwait, Norway, Qatar and the United Kingdom.