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EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian crisis
Press release9 September 2015Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations

EU Trust Fund kicks off its actions to address educational and food security needs of Syrian refugees in Turkey

Syrian refugee crisis: Today, the recently established EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian crisis launched its first actions in support of Syrian refugees.

With €17.5 million, 240,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, most of them children, will receive schooling opportunities and food security through monthly vouchers. For these actions in Turkey, the EU Trust Fund is using contributions coming from the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). Italy and Germany are also donors to the EU Trust Fund.

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission said: ''Syria's neighbours are giving an impressive contribution to hosting and welcoming those who flee from the war. As the Regional Trust Fund kicks off with its first concrete action, the EU shows we care. We care for the Syrian people and for those who are taking responsibility in helping them. And it is no accident that the first contract opened through the Fund deals with schools and education. Syria is losing a whole generation to war and exile. A pen and a book can give hope to Syrian children. They are the best weapon against hatred and radicalisation. They can give a future to a whole country.''

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn stated: "Our responsibility is to support Turkey in its huge task of hosting some two million Syrian refugees. As we are now witnessing on a daily basis, the conflict in Syria has direct consequences for Europe. We need to help the refugees both in Europe, but equally important in the countries around Syria who are shouldering the bulk of the burden. The EU Trust Fund is a new and innovative way of pooling our resources together with our Member States to address this unprecedented crisis in our southern neighbourhood. I am glad that, with the start of implementation of two contracts in Turkey, the EU Trust Fund will be able to bring support to those who most need it in very concrete forms be it food, be it education services"

To deliver this new assistance, two contracts were signed to that end in Brussels today, with UNICEF and the World Food Programme respectively.

The first contract, worth €12.5 million, will improve access to inclusive and quality education and provide psycho-sociological support to Syrian children living in Turkey, especially in host communities. Particular attention will be given to the needs of girls as well as children with disabilities.

It is expected that more than 200,000 Syrian refugee children will benefit from Arabic teaching, psychosocial support, educational materials and refurbished school facilities. There will be a special focus on access to safe spaces in host communities for Syrian children and adolescents, especially girls, to counter the risk of sexual and gender based violence. In addition, 3,700 Syrian and Turkish volunteer teachers will receive training and monetary incentives to enhance quality of education in Arabic.

Through the second action, a financing of €5 million will allow up to 41,000 Syrians residing in three camps to receive monthly food vouchers, complementing in this way the on-going EU humanitarian assistance, and helping to limit disruptions in aid delivery.

In line with the strategic orientations and priorities for the EU Trust Fund’s first years of operation as adopted by its first Board meeting on 29 May, these actions will concretely contribute to the implementation of the EU regional strategy for Syria, Iraq as well as the ISIL/ Da’esh threat adopted by the Council of the European Union on 16 March, notably to its objective of strengthening local resilience capacities in neighbouring countries affected by the refugee flows resulting from the Syrian conflict.


Since the start of the conflict in Syria, more than 11.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes, including almost 4 million that fled to neighbouring countries, half of them to Turkey. All in all, the effort made by the EU budget to support Turkey facing the consequences of the crisis in Syria amounts to some €175 million, out of which €55 million already disbursed through different instruments.

More about the EU Regional Trust Fund set up in response to the crisis in Syria:

The EU is a leading donor in the response to the Syrian crisis with around € 4 billion mobilised by the European Commission and Member States collectively in humanitarian, development, economic and stabilisation assistance to Syrians in their country and to refugees and their host communities in neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Egypt.