Elmar Brok and Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz present statement after EPP Foreign Ministers’ Group on the ISIL-Syria-Iraq crisis

Following the meeting of the EPP Foreign Ministers’ Group on 15 December 2014 on the margins of the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, the Co-Chairs of the EPP Foreign Ministers Meeting, Elmar Brok, Chairman of the AFET Committee and Sebastian Kurz, Austrian Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, presented the following statement on behalf of the EPP Foreign Ministers on the ISIL/Da’esh, Syria and Iraq crisis:

  • The situation in Syria and Iraq is dramatic. The escalation of violence and violations of human rights and international humanitarian law by ISIL/Da’esh, related terrorist groups and the Assad regime caused thousands of deaths, more than 9 million displaced people and estimated 20 million people in need of humanitarian aid.
  • Attacks against vulnerable groups, such as women, children and Christian and other religious communities, stress the need for better protection of civilians. Perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity must be held accountable, including by the ICC.
  • We welcome and support the efforts of UN Special Envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, in order to achieve a de-escalation of violence on the basis of an inclusive political process.
  • We need a strong, proactive and ambitious EU foreign policy with regard to the countries suffering from sectarian violence and civil war, in particular in light of new phenomena like ISIL/Da’esh. The influx of foreign terrorist fighters from Europe into Syria and Iraq and their possible return brings this conflict very close to Europe.
  • The European Union needs a comprehensive strategy regarding ISIL/Da’esh that complements UN and Counter-ISIL Coalition activities and engages with regional partners in order to address terrorism financing, supply of weapons and flow of foreign terrorist fighters. In the fight against ISIL/Da’esh, the EU must get from the states in the immediate region a more visible and practical containment and their ability to independently take on more operational responsibilities.
  • In Europe we must address strengthening the inter-cultural dialogue and building a partnership with civil society in order to de-legitimize violent ideology, prevent radicalisation and Jihadi influence.
  • In this regard the European Union needs a common approach to cooperate with online social networking services to ban jihadist propaganda from their channels.

For more information
Elmar Brok MEP, Tel. +32 2284 7323