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European Commission - Press release

Report on the state of EU-Lebanon relations: strengthening our partnership

Brussels, 23 June 2017

Over the past 2 years, the EU and Lebanon deepened their partnership. In view of increasing challenges, notably due to the crisis in Syria, the EU stepped up its support to Lebanon, boosting socio-economic development, reinforcing cooperation on security, education, good governance, trade.

This is the picture that emerges from a joint report released today by the European External Action Service and the European Commission on the partnership between the EU and Lebanon for the period from March 2015 to April 2017. The report comes ahead of the 8th EU-Lebanon Association Council, scheduled to take place on 18th July 2017 in Brussels.

The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy / Vice-President of the Commission, Federica Mogherini said: "The European Union and Lebanon have a long-standing strong relationship that is built on joint work and close cooperation in a wide array of areas. We are working together on security, counter terrorism and on the regional crises, but also on growth and job creation which is key to all Lebanese. As we agreed at the Brussels Conference on Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region in April, the European Union will continue to stand by Lebanon to implement the necessary reforms, support its stability and socio-economic development while promoting Lebanon's example of a pluralistic and democratic society. Lebanon can also count on the EU's support as it moves ahead with its democratic process following the agreement on a new electoral framework".

EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn commented: "The European Union is supporting Lebanon in many different areas, ranging from security to education and health. EU funds, as well as the EU/Lebanon relationship more generally, have contributed to the socio-economic development of the country, helped upgrade Lebanon's infrastructure, created opportunities for the private sector and supported important initiatives at the local level. The EU is determined to continue to support the country's longer term development goals. This is why we are engaging with Beirut on the opportunities that exist for concessional financing via the EU's Neighbourhood Investment Facility and the new European External Investment Plan.   The EU is also supporting Lebanon in hosting so many people in need: EU funds help both refugee and vulnerable host communities, ensure that hundreds of thousands of children receive quality education and provide access to healthcare".

While the impact of the Syrian crisis continues to be felt across the region and beyond, Lebanon alone hosts more than 1.1 million registered refugees from Syria. Against the background of these challenges, the partnership between the EU and Lebanon has continuously strengthened and become more strategic and targeted. In line with the renewed European Neighbourhood Policy, the EU-Lebanon Partnership Priorities and Compact EU support and cooperation have been particularly focussed on developing the capacity of security and law enforcements agencies as well as a justice system in full respect of human rights, on achieving progress in the areas of good governance and the rule of law, fostering growth and job opportunities, and promoting a comprehensive and positive approach on migration and mobility.

In the last months, Lebanon has made important steps by electing a new president last October, thereby overcoming a 29-month institutional gridlock, and forming a new government last December. The Lebanese parliament's recent endorsement of a new electoral law (which happened after the closure of the reporting period) provides the basis for parliamentary elections to be held in the coming months. This further contributes to strengthening democratic institutions in the country.

Details

The report refers to the intensive cooperation on the multilateral, regional and bilateral fronts on all the above mentioned key topics and also addresses other areas such as such as education, research and innovation and culture as well as health that form part of the EU-Lebanon Compact. EU assistance to Lebanon in these areas is targeted at having a long-term effects on the country beyond addressing the impact of the Syrian conflict such as promoting public healthcare and education for all.

The European Union has mobilised some €1 billion to assist Lebanon since the beginning of the Syrian crisis. This includes EUR 439 million in humanitarian assistance to support refugees and vulnerable Lebanese, EUR 249.5 million from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) to enhance the capacities of Lebanese institutions at central and local levels, and to support them in the provision of basic services to Lebanese vulnerable communities, Syrian refugees and Palestinian refugees from Syria. EUR 224.2 million are mobilised via the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis and projects worth EUR 57 million from the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) will contribute to enhance stability, rule of law and reconciliation in the country.

 

For more information:

Full country report

EU support to Lebanon

Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon

IP/17/1750

Press contacts:

General public inquiries: Europe Direct by phone 00 800 67 89 10 11 or by email


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