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Brussels, 18 July 2012
Lebanon: Next steps towards finalising the Action Plan of cooperation with the European Union
European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle met with Lebanon's Minister of Economy and Trade, Nicolas Nahas, in Brussels today to discuss details of the Action Plan which will guide mutual cooperation and the EU´s support for the country.
The Action Plan reflects the revised European Neighbourhood Policy under which the EU provides assistance and help to its partners based on their ambitions and progress in reforms. "With Minister Nahas we agreed on the timelines for the next steps to finalise the new Action Plan as soon as possible and I appreciate the very good work done by our Lebanese partners in the framework of the Neighbourhood Policy over the last year. The speed of this is unprecedented compared to previous years," Commissioner Füle said. The list of priorities for joint cooperation was already discussed with Prime Minister Najib Mikati during his visit to Brussels in April. The priorities of the Action Plan are based on the main principles of the revised ENP policy as well as on the priorities that have been put forward by the Lebanese government in the framework of their national economic and social reform programme. "Today we agreed the overall framework of the Action Plan, which includes 15 priority objectives, reflecting on-going reform efforts of the Lebanese government that creates a good and solid bases for additional EU support on top of the current assistance, fully in line with the principle more for more," Commissioner Füle said, noting that these priorities not only cover social and economic issues and good governance but also civil society and support for vulnerable groups.
The meeting took place only a few days after the European Commission approved financial support of €30 million to assist the Government of Lebanon in improving living conditions and reducing social inequalities for people living on Lebanese territory.
Commissioner Füle and Minister Nahas also discussed the situation in neighbouring Syria and its impact on the stability of Lebanon. The Commissioner reiterated the EU´s condemnation of continued incursions from Syria into Lebanon and the recent security incidents. He also expressed support for the Lebanese authorities in their efforts to maintain calm and stability in the country.