The EU said it supports U.S.-Russian plans to find a political solution to the crisis in multilateral talks in Geneva.
A series of U.N. reports in June said civilians were suffering most from the crisis. The United Nations estimates at least 1.6 million Syrians are displaced abroad. four million more are internally displaced, half them children.
"The international community cannot stand by idly in the face of the most dramatic humanitarian situation of the last decades," European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said in a statement. "Our first priority is to promote a political settlement aimed at ending the violence and the human rights abuses."
The EU said it was increasing its budget for financial assistance for Syria by some $520 million for 2013 and was working to support the United Nations in addressing human rights challenges and alleged violations of international humanitarian law.
EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fule said there is a profound need to keep the crisis contained.
"We are very concerned by the worsening of the Syrian crisis and its negative impact on Syria's immediate neighbors," he said.
The EU agenda recommended the international community start preparations for post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation.