Source: European Commission |

The European Union announces new support for Somali refugees

The European Union will announce €60 million in additional support for Somali refugees at a Ministerial Pledging Conference in Brussels

BRUSSELS, Belgium, October 21, 2015/APO (African Press Organization)/ --

Today, High Representative / Vice President Federica Mogherini and the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, will announce €60 million to support Somali refugees in Somalia and Kenya.  This announcement will be made during a Ministerial Pledging Conference on Somali Refugees taking place in Brussels.

Prior to the conference, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, said:  "When it comes to migration, European and African countries work together. That's why dialogue is a key aspect of the EU's external policy on migration. I've recently travelled to Niger and Ethiopia to launch High Level Dialogues with these key countries. Today's event brings key partners together to discuss how to join efforts to give Somali refugees and displaced persons a better future."
Commissioner Mimica also commented: "The EU stands ready to further build on its long-standing partnership with the Horn of Africa and to give €60 million to support the Somali refugees in the neighbouring countries. There can be no real peace building, state building or development without a durable solution for the Somali refugees.  They account for almost 20% of the Somali population."
The €60 million will address two key areas. First, a €50 million programme will be put in place to support the sustainable and durable reintegration of refugees and internally displaced persons in Somalia, for example by increasing access to basic services, enhancing livelihoods and reducing vulnerability in areas of return and departure. This will help to manage voluntary returns of refugees from Kenya, Yemen and Europe.
Secondly, the EU will finance a €10 million programme for northern Kenya designed to provide relief and better opportunities for Somalian refugees who find themselves in particularly vulnerable situations when returns are not yet possible. This money will also go towards helping their host communities, for example by promoting employment oriented skills for both refugees in the camps and surrounding host communities, in order to increase economic exchanges in vulnerable regions in Kenya.
On the Ministerial pledging conference
The Ministerial Pledging Conference on Somali Refugees, taking place at the MCE (Management Centre Europe) Conference Centre in Brussels on 21 October 2015, is hosted by the European Union and United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The conference is being organised to mobilise international support for Somali refugees and displaced people and participants will have the opportunity to deliver statements and make financial pledges.
The event will contribute to the objectives of the Valletta Summit (11-12 November 2015). The conference will be opened by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. António Guterres, the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, Ms. Federica Mogherini, the Prime Minister of Somalia, H.E. Mr. Omar Abdirachid Ali Sharmarke and Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination of National Government, Republic of Kenya, H.E. Rt. Maj. General Joseph Ole Nkaissery. European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, will co-chair various parts of the conference. During the lunch, a high-Level dialogue on migration at ministerial level will be held between the EU and the countries of the region.
On the EU's Horn of Africa Regional Action Plan
As a response to the current and recently more pronounced challenges in the Horn of Africa, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission have come up with an EU Horn of Africa Regional Action Plan. This regional action plan focuses on migration, violent extremism and implications of the broader geopolitical framework. It complements existing policies, such as the EU-Horn of Africa Strategic Framework (2011) and will provide the EU's strategic direction for our activities in the period 2015-2020.
New EU approach to promote stability and address the root causes of irregular migration and displacement
During the event, Commissioner Mimica will set out a new initiative for the Horn of Africa entitled "New EU approach to promote stability and address the root causes of irregular migration and displacement", which has just been launched by the EU and which is based on three pillars of intervention. More support to the countries in the region will be provided, in order to increase their capacity to better handle migration flows and displacement. This includes actions aimed at improving the conditions of people that find themselves in a long-term displacement situation or along the migration routes, under the first pillar. The second pillar provides a targeted response to the needs for resilience in the region's most fragile areas and for the vulnerable populations. The third pillar promotes socio-economic development and increases work opportunities, especially for young people.
On the EU Emergency Trust Fund
The European Union recently announced an EU Emergency Trust Fund with an initial budget of €1.8 billion, in addition to the already allocated €4.3 billion to the region. The Trust Fund has been designed as a fast mechanism to address root causes of irregular migration and displaced persons in Africa whilst increasing stability. Three regions, including the Horn of Africa, have been identified as beneficiaries. The budget of this Trust Fund will be increased by additional contributions from EU Member States and other donors, some of which have already confirmed their contribution.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of European Commission.