Today the European Commission adopted the 2013 national programme for Bosnia and Herzegovina under the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). The funds available amount to EUR 41.9 million. This is EUR 45 million less than initially envisaged. Since Bosnia and Herzegovina is at a standstill in the European integration process, the European Commission could not justify providing the full amount of previously envisaged pre-accession aid to the country. Unlike development aid, IPA is specifically designed to help countries with their pre-accession reforms.
The programme focuses on projects directly benefitting the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina. These include support to the justice sector and the fight against money laundering, support for refugees and internally displaced persons, social inclusion in education, demining, Roma and SME development.
The allocation of EUR 41.9 million comes on top of the EUR 16.4 million already committed this year to Bosnia and Herzegovina via the Multi-Beneficiary Programme to support refugees, education and civil society. […]
Just as winter weather has hit Syria and the region, the European Commission has mobilised an additional €30 million aimed at providing urgently needed assistance to the conflict-affected population inside Syria, as well as to Syrian refugees and host communities in neighbouring Jordan and Lebanon. This follows just few days after the European Commission signed major contracts with United Nations agencies totalling €147 million to deliver vitally needed aid to people affected by the Syrian crisis.
The extra €30 million come from the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) and are in addition to €960 million already provided by the European Commission since the start of the crisis, including the €400 million comprehensive assistance package launched with the Joint EU Syria Communication of 24 June 2013. […]
The EU needs to ensure the implementation of its border, migration and asylum laws comply with fundamental rights, says FRA on International Migrants Day on 18 December.
Many people are fleeing violence and persecution, trying to find safety in Europe. Too often, they become vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, and some never even reach Europe.
Some resettlement of refugees to Europe has taken place, but an established scheme for protected entry to Europe does not exist. Many are forced to undertake the dangerous journey to find safety. Desperate to leave, they are exploited and abused in return for being transported across the Mediterranean, often in unseaworthy boats, as happened in October off the coast of Lampedusa. This led the European Commission to set up the Task Force Mediterranean, which has suggested a number of ideas on how to reduce the death toll at sea. […]
"I am delighted to welcome Ms Valerie Amos, Under Secretary General and Emergency Relief Coordinator UNOCHA, Mr António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and Mr Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director and also Ertharin Cousin, World Food Programme Executive Director, here to the European Commission.
Today we have discussed the humanitarian situation in Syria, which continues to deteriorate dramatically. The United Nations now estimates that 9.3 million people are affected by the on-going violence, with approximately 6.5 million people internally displaced within Syria.
Aid agencies continue to face significant constraints in reaching people in need. The escalating violence in the country is making it harder and more dangerous for humanitarian workers to do their jobs. This is why the European Union has mobilized further resources. And this is why our aid is channelled through mandated and professional humanitarian organizations in accordance with humanitarian principles, which include of course the UN agencies". […]
The EU has announced a Regional Development and Protection Programme for refugees and host communities in Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq, as part of its long-term development response to the Syrian refugee crisis.
The new programme intends to address the development and protection challenges associated with the Syrian refugee crisis affecting Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. The programme will provide, through analyses, assessments and studies, a sound understanding that the presence of refugees has on host communities and propose opportunities for development for both refugees and their hosts alike. It will also assess refugees' potential contribution to the national and local economy of host countries. The current lack of such studies represents a significant gap in the framework of both the humanitarian and development assistance being carried out in the region.
European Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs said: "There can be no protection for refugees unless they can be self-reliant. Using development assistance to support refugees in their host countries has the potential to mitigate the negative consequences that their presence may have on local communities and, at the same time, enhance the quality of refugee protection by helping them to become self-sufficient. We are committed to ensuring that refugees are included in our long-term development planning". […]