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We #SupportRefugees on World Refugee Day

Displaced children in Iraq receive emergency supplies from the European Commission and UNICEF. © UNICEF/Lindsay Mackenzie

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the following statement is issued by Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President for Better Regulation, Interinstitutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, Neven Mimica, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Dimitris Avramopoulos, Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs, and Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management:

"An estimated 65 million persons are forcibly displaced in the world – as refugees, asylum seekers, migrants or internally displaced persons.  Providing support and protection for refugees and effectively managing migration is a challenge, which requires a global response.

From families fleeing war in Syria, to those escaping conflicts in Africa, the personal fight for survival and security is driving millions of people to move from their homes. Developing countries are hosting the vast majority of the world's refugee population – over 85% – but we also feel the impact closer to home, with more than 1 million people seeking protection in the EU last year. Many vulnerable people have fallen victim to unscrupulous people smugglers and traffickers, suffering during their journey or even losing their lives.

World Refugee Day commemorates the plight of these men, women and children. It is for this reason that we are launching the #SupportRefugees campaign, with the aim to raise awareness of their situation and to demonstrate how the European Union provides tangible help.

The EU has not and will not turn a blind eye to this crisis and we will continue to share in the global efforts to address it. We are continuously looking at ways to strengthen our humanitarian response and increase our support to refugees, internally displaced people and the millions affected by crisis around the world. As the world's leading humanitarian donor, our humanitarian response has helped millions affected by the crisis in Syria: we have provided them with over €6 billion collectively from EU and Member State budgets and we will continue to pledge financial support to displaced Syrians inside and outside their country.

Overall, more than €10 billion of the EU budget for the years 2015 and 2016 has been allocated to address the refugee crisis within the EU and in third countries. In April, the European Commission set out a strategic vision on how its external action can support refugees and displaced people in long lasting crises. The Communication "Lives in Dignity: from Aid-dependence to Self-reliance" lays out an approach to prevent refugees and displaced people relying only on emergency humanitarian type assistance. In May, the World Humanitarian Summit launched a new approach to humanitarian aid, and the EU will maintain its pledge to implement the commitments it made at the Summit, including on political leadership to prevent and end conflict."

Click here to read the full Joint Statement for World Refugee Day 2016.


The European Union is a global leading donor of humanitarian aid. In 2016, the EU is providing over €1 billion in life-saving humanitarian assistance for refugees worldwide. This funding helps to meet the refugees' most pressing needs – including vital access to shelter, food, health care, sanitation, education, as well as to increase their self-reliance while reducing their dependency on international assistance.

On the occasion of World Refugee Day, the European Commission has launched the #SupportRefugees campaign with the support of international football stars Marouane Fellaini and Anja Mittag as goodwill ambassadors. The information campaign has one key aim: to raise awareness of the millions of men, women and children who are currently displaced worldwide, and the support they are being provided with. Taking place during the EURO 2016 football championship, the campaign enjoys the support of UEFA, the European football’s governing body and host of the European Championship, and the International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPro).


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