AMMAN — Jordan must not be left alone to deal with the Syrian refugees, an EU fact-finding mission said on Wednesday.  

The delegation of four members of the European Parliament (MEPs) said that Jordan is already paying a high price for hosting the refugees, commending the humanitarian aid and support the Kingdom is providing to this vulnerable group. 

“Despite the challenges facing the local [Jordanian] economy, the government is doing a great job in hosting the Syrian refugees,” said Juan Fernando López Aguilar, who headed the delegation.

“I would like to praise the efforts of Jordan in hosting and providing humanitarian relief to refugees from Syria and I urge Jordan to continue granting this invaluable support to the Syrian refugees on its territory,” said Aguilar.

Aguilar also urged the Kingdom to maintain its open-border policy and allow everyone who seeks asylum to enter. 

Hurbert Pirker, a member in the mission, said that they “understand that more than 60 per cent of the Zaatari Refugee Camp residents are children; it is particularly hard to run a camp with such challenges”.

“The influx of refugees is increasing on daily basis. Keeping up the humanitarian assistance supply poses a huge burden on the local authorities,” he added.

Judith Sargentini, another member in the mission, said she noticed that “most households in the camp are headed by women”.

Sargentini spoke to women who said they “live in despair, trying to keep their families together; surviving on little to no money, while trying to secure proper education and healthcare for their children”. 

“The assistance provided by the international community is far from enough,” Sargentini said, adding that those women deserve “our full attention to make sure that they get out of this situation safe, strong and dignified”.

“They are struggling to live in poverty and the horrible living conditions.”

 

Foreign assistance

 

The delegation also called on the Arab states to share some of the burden Jordan is carrying, and learn from the EU’s experience in that regard.

The EU, for its part, is expected to show solidarity and come to the aid of the Syrian refugees, instead of leaving it to Syria’s neighbouring countries, the MEPs said.

So far, the number of asylum applications filed by Syrian refugees with the EU remained relatively moderate. Germany, Sweden, Austria, UK, Denmark and Belgium have received most of these applications. In other EU countries the applications have been considerably lower. Some asylum seekers are also trying to enter the EU via the Turkish-Greek border. 

According to a statement distributed to the press, the last EU Joint Resettlement Programme pledging round in 2012 saw 13 EU member states pledge to resettle 3,962 persons in 2013. 

Out of this number, around 1,420 resettlement places were assigned to persons from a country or region designated for a regional protection programme, and around 350 for persons in need of emergency resettlement or urgent resettlement for legal or physical protection needs. 

The European Commission has encouraged EU member states to consider assigning such places within their national quotas to refugees originating from Syria, according to the European Parliament website.