Intervention by President Donald Tusk at the London Supporting Syria and the Region conference

We are here today to forge a common response to the biggest humanitarian challenge of our time: the Syrian refugee crisis. Refugees have had little choice but to flee their country. Many of them have lost everything. And now after so many years of conflict, people have lost hope. We have a moral duty to bring their hope back.

Syria’s neighbours have shown tremendous efforts in accommodating over 4.6 million refugees. The international community recognizes that countries like Lebanon, Jordan or Turkey are providing a global public good in assisting refugees. We are all here because this public good has to be financed by the global community. We have to support Syria’s neighbours in accommodating refugees.

Since the start of the conflict the European Union has spent 5 billion euros helping to manage this crisis. Last year, the European Union exceeded its commitment to give an additional 1 billion euros to the region. We now stand ready to offer more help.

I am pleased to announce that the European Union and its member states will commit more than 3 billion euros to respond to the needs of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey for 2016. Looking beyond that, from 2017 onwards, the EU and Member States intend to maintain this level of financing.

On top of this pledge, the EU’s bank will also play its part. The European Investment Bank plans to lend around 12.5 billion euros to Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt over the next five years. This could be stepped up to a possible total of 23 billion euros for the whole of the Middle East and North Africa. President Hoyer from EIB will present the details later today.

I will continue to convince my G7 and G20 partners to step up our global efforts.