The EU could play a key role in rebuilding Syria

Since the beginning of the war in Syria in 2011, the European Union and its member states have given €10 billion worth of aid to Syrians inside and outside the country, says Le Monde.
International mine clearance in Aleppo, Syria.

The EU, the largest provider of humanitarian aid to Syria, organised a conference this April in support of  peace process pursued by the United Nations.

In order to ‘create conditions for a return to normal life,’ the EU is also looking for ways to help on the ground, assisting – for example – with the management of the four ‘de-escalation zones’ along the country’s western border.

If a ceasefire eventually comes out of the agenda both sides agreed upon during the Geneva peace talks, ‘the cost of rebuilding Syria will be beyond what anyone can imagine.’

‘No one, not the Russians, nor the Gulf countries, nor the Americans, will have the means to cover the costs alone.’

‘The EU won’t either,’ says Le Monde, ‘but it could play a key role.’

Though we shouldn’t get carried away, this is going to be a very long process.

It would be ‘unrealistic’ to think that after seven years of civil war, war against ISIS, and several hundreds of thousands of deaths, ‘Syrians will be able to pick up from where they left off, as if nothing had happened.’

When – and how – the peace process concludes will be up to the Syrians themselves, not the UN or the EU.

After all, as the UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said himself, the country has a “sophisticated” political culture that mustn’t be underestimated.

Besides Russia and the US, ‘other regional actors must become more involved,’ said Le Monde.

What the EU can do is to continue to support the peace process and ‘help the Syrians who wish for peace and democracy for their country.’