Following the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty on 1 December 2009, the EU has set up a unified diplomatic service called the European External Action Service (EEAS). EU Delegations are part of the EEAS. The EU Delegation now represents the European Union as a whole, with the Head of Delegation or Ambassador accredited as the official representative of the EU.
The EU Delegation functions much like an embassy and represents the EU in its dealings with political issues, trade, development, cooperation, etc. Consular protection of EU citizens is provided by individual Member States Embassies and their Consulates.
Through its engagement with political actors, civil society, the private sector, academics, the media and citizens, the EU Delegation raises awareness of EU issues and concerns, and promotes the importance of the EU-Lebanon partnership among the Lebanese authorities and the broader Lebanese public. At the political level, the EU supports an independent, sovereign, unified and stable Lebanon, and encourages Lebanon to fulfil its international obligations and to implement an ambitious agenda of political, economic and social reforms.
The EU Delegation has four main tasks:
- represent EU interests,
- promote cooperation with and among EU Member States in Lebanon,
- support the reform agenda of the Lebanese government, and
- ensure that the EU cooperation benefits those mostly in need.
The Association Agreement signed in 2002 and the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan constitute the main framework of current relations between the EU and Lebanon.
The EU Delegation was established in Lebanon in 1979 as the Delegation of the European Commission. It employs more than 100 European and Lebanese staff members and is headed by Ambassador Ralph Tarraf.
The EU, the Member States and the European Investment Bank currently execute a total budget of more than €2.2 billion of assistance to Lebanon, including approximately €1.3 billion of grants and €0.9 billion of loans.
The EU cooperation focuses mainly on promoting programmes which support political, economic and social reforms, local governance, demining and refugees. Efforts to reform key sectors such as security, justice, good governance, social protection, support to civil society, education, energy, environment, agriculture and fundamental rights are particularly encouraged since they all aim at supporting sustainable growth and at reducing regional disparities in Lebanon.