Brussels, 20 March 2013
ENP Country Progress Report 2012 – Lebanon
The European Commission and the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy published on 20 March 2013 the annual “neighbourhood package”, consisting of a joint communication (“Working Towards a Stronger Partnership”) making an assessment of the ENP implementation in 2012, a report on the “Partnership for Democracy and Shared prosperity” with Southern Mediterranean, an Eastern Partnership progress report, 12 country reports (on developments in 2012 and with a set of recommendations for the future), including one on Lebanon, and a statistical annex.
In 2012, implementation of Lebanon's reform objectives advanced only slowly on the backdrop of the on-going crisis in the neighbouring Syria. Lebanon's internal stability came under threat when violent clashes related to the Syrian conflict erupted at various occasions. In these circumstances implementation of the ENP agenda stalled.
In 2012 Lebanon addressed only a few of the key recommendations contained in the last year's ENP progress report by making some overdue judicial appointments. Most of the key recommendations remain valid. On the basis of the assessment of the progress made in implementing the ENP in 2012, and taking into account the priorities agreed jointly by the EU and Lebanon in the new ENP Action Plan, Lebanon should focus its efforts in the coming year on:
Ensuring that the elections in 2013 are conducted in a democratic way, and that compliance of the electoral framework with international standards is improved.
Enhancing the role of institutions that can contribute to the stability of the country, in particular the Parliament.
Working on improving the security situation, law enforcement and border management.
Improving the effectiveness and independence of the judiciary, including through increased computerisation of the courts and independence of judicial appointments;
Improving the protection of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers, including through the signature of the revised Memorandum of Understanding with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Providing continued protection and support to people fleeing the violence in Syria.
Adopting concrete steps to improve Palestinian refugees’ living conditions and access to property, employment and social security.
Taking measures to enhance the role of women in public and economic life;
Adopting the budget on time and improving management of public finances.
Taking measures to combat corruption, including the adoption of public procurement legislation.
Making progress toward membership of the WTO.
Continuing the efforts made in preparation for ACAA negotiations and complying with sanitary and phyto-sanitary rules.
Signing and ratifying the regional Convention on pan-Euro-Mediterranean preferential rules of origin.
Starting to implement a long-term restructuring of the energy sector and setting up a transparent framework for effective and sustainable management of the natural resources in the Mediterranean Sea.
Reforms initiated, carried out successfully, or delayed during 2012 in the different areas of cooperation between the EU and Lebanon are described in the annual country report. Some of the issues reported deserve special attention. In the political area, remaining challenges include increasing the efficiency and independence of judiciary, improving management of prisons and detention centres, abolishing the death penalty, improving the treatment of migrants and refugees and increasing the participation of women in political and social life. Corruption remains high. In trade-related issues, no progress was made by Lebanon in its accession process to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). On free movement of goods and technical regulations, progress was made in the preparations for negotiations on an Agreement on Conformity Assessment and Acceptance of Industrial Products (ACAA). An increasing number of Lebanese students and researchers benefited from different European programmes in the education area.
EU–Lebanon – BACKGROUND
The European Neighbourhood Policy governs the relations between the EU and Lebanon.
2006: EU-Lebanon Association Agreement entered into force.
2007: EU-Lebanon Action Plan was approved.
2008: Launch of the Union for the Mediterranean.
FACTS AND FIGURES
2009: Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) - one project was approved for an amount of EUR 4 million in technical assistance, expected to leverage EUR 111 million in loans of European Finance Institutions in the water and sanitation sector.
2007-2010: The ENPI envelope for Lebanon was earmarked at EUR 187 million.
2011-2013: The new National Indicative Programme (NIP) (2011-13) for Lebanon was adopted in May 2010 with a EUR 150 million budget. The programme is geared towards supporting the achievement of key policy objectives: (1) support to political reform (allows developing support to the reform agenda of the Lebanese government), (2) support to social and economic reforms (helping develop the private sector and to improve the living conditions of the population through various actions covering e.g. energy, education and environment), and (3) support to reconstruction and recovery (focusing on economic recovery of all regions and improvement of living conditions of the most vulnerable parts of the population, including Palestinian refugees).
2011: The Association Committee held its first meeting since 2007 and sub-committees resumed their work.
2011: Preparations for a new ENP Action Plan were launched.
2012: Negotiations concluded on a new Action Plan.
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