EU to provide milk to 350,000 Syrian children

The European Commission has adopted a €30m programme which will see it provide 350,000 Syrian children with drinking milk.

This programme is part of the already substantial aid provided by the EU to those in need as a consequence of the crisis in the region.

The funding for this latest programme is part of the €500m support package for European farmers presented by the Commission in 2015, which represented a substantial response by the Commission to support European farmers.

The Commission has said that it will be used to buy milk which should originate in the EU.

As well as supporting European farmers through the purchase of drinking milk, the €30m programme will also contribute to the major challenge posed to the EU by the refugee crisis.

The milk will be distributed to Syrian children and will reinforce an already operating food distribution programme for school children financed by the EU in Syria, according to the Commission.

EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides said that this new programme will help hundreds of thousands of Syrian children in need.

We must remain committed to helping the most vulnerable victims of the conflict. This additional support will go to humanitarian partner organisations working in the country.”

The milk provided will be of EU origin and is part of the Commission’s €500m solidarity package to European farmers presented in September 2015, where €30m was earmarked to address the needs of vulnerable groups in third countries, in the context of the current refugee crisis.

EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan, said that he was pleased that the Commission has today adopted this programme, which is an integral part of the Commission’s €500m support package for European farmers.

“This new programme delivers on two Commission priorities – to support farmers at a very difficult time, while also ensuring that we remain fully focused on the major challenge posed by the ongoing refugee crisis.”

The Commission has said that the conflict in Syria had a severe impact on the agriculture sector of the country, leading to a decline in food production, in particular of dairy products.

Consumption of milk has been significantly reduced especially amongst poor households due to high food prices and Syrian families typically consumed milk and other dairy products on a daily basis prior to the crisis.

At present, the Commission has said that milk has in some cases completely disappeared from their diet.

The milk package is therefore a one-off addition to the already substantial EU funded humanitarian aid delivered to those in need.