Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy,
Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs, Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner for
Development, and Kristalina Georgieva, Commissioner for International Cooperation,
Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, made today the following statement:
“Today is World Refugee Day: a day of growing concern for the international community as the
number of displaced people around the world soars to a dramatic new high. We can count the number
of refugees – more than 46 million, according to the U" High Commissioner for Refugees – but we
cannot quantify the human suffering, the broken families, destroyed childhoods and livelihoods that
come with fleeing a war or a disaster.
In Europe, we have a particular reason to think about refugees and displaced people now that war on
our doorstep has displaced more than six million Syrians, 1.6 million of whom are refugees.
Alongside the efforts on the political front, the EU provides humanitarian and other assistance to the
Syrians affected by the conflict, both those that still remain in Syria, and those who have fled the
country. Conscious of the growing pressure on the host communities in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey,
we are also seeking to help them deal with the refugees. To date, €840 million in assistance has been
committed by Member States and the European Commission. The EU has also recently announced
that it will deploy an additional package of €400 million in aid for Syrians.
Another sign of Europe's lasting commitment to helping refugees is today's adoption by the EU of the
final element of the Common European Asylum System, the culmination of many years of work to
ensure a better, more humane treatment of those seeking protection.
It will provide better access to the asylum procedure for those who seek protection; it will lead to
fairer, quicker and better quality asylum decisions; it will ensure that people in fear of persecution
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