The European Union must rethink its approach to Syria, and the situation after the earthquake there presents an opportunity to reconsider its sanctions policy against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, Christian Democrat MEP Gyorgy Holvenyi said on Saturday.
Holvenyi is visiting earthquake-hit areas in Syria as part of a humanitarian mission to assess the most pressing humanitarian needs there.
He said in a statement that the world soon “forgot the thousands of victims” of the earthquake, adding that reliable data on how many people were injured in the disaster were scant. More than 77,000 Syrian families were displaced and 4 million people were directly affected by the earthquake there, he noted. He warned that suffering would deepen and there would be an increase in emigration in the absence of a change of approach by the international community.
Holvenyi is scheduled to visit St. Louis Hospital in Aleppo, which was built with Hungarian help and meet Cardinal Mario Zenari, the apostolic nuncio of Syria, as well as the Syrian director of the Jesuit refugee service, among other religious leaders.
He noted that he will then write a report for European decision-makers dealing with Syria.
The Hungarian politician said it was necessary to “find a way” for sanctions to achieve their political goals without increasing suffering, and a new strategic approach was in order to achieve this.