Alyn urges EU to step up Syria aid

Scottish MEP Alyn Smith has called for a more coherent response by the EU and EU member states to the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Syria, together with an immediate increase in emergency humanitarian aid as winter bites. 

The call came in a debate on Syria in Strasbourg last night (Tuesday) with EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid Mr Christos Stylianides.  

Alyn also pressed for more coordination between the EU member states that are militarily involved in the region and the EU humanitarian response, and for a thorough examination of why the UN World Food Programme suspended operations in the region. Commissioner Stylianides admitted a political solution was a prerequisite to ending the humanitarian crisis which has now displaced some 11 million people.

Speaking after the debate Alyn said:

"The Commission did indeed respond to our joint call for an emergency increase in food aid, but this is only part of the picture.

"The EU is speaking with too many voices in the region and the people of Syria are feeling increasingly let down and isolated. The military engagement, in particular of some of our member states, is causing a number of negative consequences on the ground. It is not good enough for the EU to just send money, welcome as this is. 

"We need a co-ordinated approach to peace building, the treatment of refugees and humanitarian aid. So far we are doing fairly well on humanitarian aid even though efforts are dwarfed by the scale of the tragedy. But there is a real risk the actions of a number of our member states will make things worse, and I was glad to hear our Commissioner admit that the only answer is a political solution." 

A video of the speech should display above, if not you can find it on Alyn's YouTube channel

Alyn last week co-ordinated a letter signed by 19 other MEPs calling for an immediate EU grant to cover the shortfall in the UN World Food Programme budget which led to the WFP suspending operations. The emergency grant was brought forward, and the letter is reproduced below for reference. 

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update: January 28th 2015 Commissioner Stylianides' response to the letter is reproduced below for reference.

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