Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Brendan Smith TD has stated that the European Union must coordinate its approach in seeking to address the horrific humanitarian crisis which is ongoing in Syria, Gaza and Iraq. The recently published UN Report showing that the number of Syrian refugees is now over 3 million people should spur a renewed effort from the EU in seeking to assist those who find themselves without a home as a result of the conflict there. The EU must also develop a Union wide response to the threat from the terrorist group Isis and ensure that all Member States are prepared and have a strategy to deal with the return of Islamic combatants to Europe.
Deputy Smith stated: “The news this week that the number of Syrian refugees has now gone beyond 3 million is shocking and shows the enormous crisis which is developing on Europe’s doorstep. This figure publish by the United Nations does not include hundreds of thousands of others who fled without registering as refugees. The conditions within the country now are increasingly horrifying and the UN report states that people are going hungry and civilians are being targeted or indiscriminately killed.”
“Similarly in Gaza, the recent conflict has displaced about a fourth of Gaza’s population. Nearly 60,000 people have lost their homes. The damage to infrastructure there is more severe than the destruction caused by either of the last two Gaza wars according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Yet the humanitarian assistance required in Gaza has not materialised in a timely or effective way due to the unstable peace which has been declared. The EU must impress on the rest of the international community that they must honour their obligations and commitments to increase humanitarian assistance for the Middle East region.”
“Europe must provide a coordinated plan of humanitarian assistance to ensure that EU aid and foreign policy helps those who have been displaced and challenges those who have prolonged these conflicts. The EU too must be vigilant against the possible radicalisation of its citizens from returning combatants in the conflicts in Iraq and Syria. We must develop a comprehensive strategy to guard against the infiltration of Jihadists within our societies. The EU must take every action necessary to help those seeking to defeat the terrorist group known as Isis and protect our borders from their ideas and their people.”
“I would urge European leaders gathering at the weekend’s meeting of the European Council to agree as quickly as possible to the appointment of a new EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy who can provide a united European voice. The failure to appoint a new High Representative in July undermined the EU’s credibility on the international stage, especially at a time of such unrest in the world. Europe needs a strong voice now more than ever. This appointment must be made without delay.”