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EU strategy for Syria

EU strategy for Syria



Joint communication (JOIN(2017) 11 final) — EU strategy for Syria


It sets out elements for an EU strategy (to be approved by the Council) on how the EU can better and more strongly contribute to a lasting political solution in Syria under the existing UN-agreed framework.

The communication is the latest strategic document addressing the Syrian crisis. It follows the EU’s strategy on Syria set out March 2015 (and reviewed in 2016) as part of the EU regional strategy for Syria and Iraq, and the ISIL/Da’esh threat. That document itself followed a 2013 communication on a comprehensive approach to the Syrian crisis.


Strategic goals

The communication sets out 5 strategic goals:

  • One Syria — a united and territorially integral country for all Syrian citizens.
  • A democratic Syria — a legitimate government and a pluralistic political system that respects the rule of law and individual rights — based on equal citizenship.
  • A diverse and inclusive Syria — a multicultural country in which all ethnic and religious groups feel that their identities are protected and that they have equal access to government.
  • A strong and secure Syria — an effective state with functional institutions, with a focus on citizens’ security and services, a single national army and accountable police and security forces.
  • A stable Syria — a stable political system and a strong economy, providing proper education and healthcare to its population, as well as being attractive to foreign investment, maintaining good relations with all its neighbours and becoming a constructive partner in the international community.

It is hoped that achieving these goals will lead to the safe, dignified and voluntary return of refugees and other displaced persons.


The communication assesses the risks and threats posed by the Syrian war to the EU’s core interests, and regional and global stability. In response, it sets out a list of the EU’s objectives including:

  • ending the war through a political transition process negotiated by the parties to the conflict with the support of the UN Special Envoy for Syria and key international and regional actors;
  • promoting a meaningful and inclusive transition in Syria through support for the strengthening of the political opposition, in line with UN Security Council Resolution 2254 and the Geneva Communiqué;
  • promoting democracy, human rights and the freedom of speech by strengthening Syrian civil society organisations;
  • promoting a national reconciliation process based on peace-building efforts and countering violent extremism and sectarianism, including an approach to transitional justice that should include accountability for war crimes;
  • saving lives by addressing the humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable Syrians in a timely, effective, efficient and principled manner;
  • supporting the resilience of the Syrian population, Syrian institutions and Syrian society.


To implement these objectives, the communication establishes a number of actions which are to be carried out in close coordination with regional partners and international organisations. These include:

  • an initiative, coordinated with the UN, to establish a political dialogue with key actors from the region to identify common ground for the end-state in Syria and the conditions for the reconciliation and reconstruction process;
  • the EU Syria Peace Process Support Initiative is developing a concrete platform to support the peace process and ceasefire, strengthen the opposition parties and contribute to the dialogue with civil society;
  • encouraging dialogue between opposition groups and Syrian stakeholders, such as civil society organisations, religious and tribal leaders, the business community and women’s associations, with a view to incorporating their views into a political platform;
  • assisting the different elements of Syrian society to support peaceful coexistence and community resilience as a prerequisite for building a future democratic Syria.

Early planning for reconstruction and transition

In order to be ready to act quickly and effectively once a political transition has begun, the communication sets out steps covering:

  • post-agreement planning — this includes continuing to be involved and contributing to the post-agreement planning exercise conducted by the UN Inter-agency Task Force;
  • EU’s role in the reconstruction of Syria — these could include lifting sanctions, resuming cooperation and mobilising funding.



Joint communication to the European Parliament and the Council — Elements for an EU Strategy for Syria (JOIN(2017) 11 final, 14.3.2017)


Council adopts EU strategy on Syria (press release), 3 April 2017

Joint communication to the European Parliament and the Council — Elements for an EU regional strategy for Syria and Iraq as well as the Da’esh threat (JOIN(2015) 2 final, 6.2.2015)

Joint communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions — Towards a comprehensive EU approach to the Syrian crisis (JOIN(2013) 22 final, 24.6.2013)

last update 07.12.2017