The European Union provides significant financial aid and technical assistance to Lebanon. The financial allocation for EU-Lebanon cooperation for 2014-2016 amounts to €132 million (€44 million per year). Aid focuses on three areas: reform of the justice and security system; social cohesion, sustainable economic development and vulnerable groups; and sustainable and transparent management of energy and natural resources. There are also two cross-cutting areas: complementary support for capacity building and for civil society.
To ensure Lebanon’s ownership of its development agenda, the EU works mainly through national institutions. EU bilateral assistance offers predictability: financial envelopes are defined for several years and allow for continuous support for development and reform, in accordance with the jointly defined Action Plan. Part of the assistance provided by the EU is also channelled through civil society organisations and local authorities.
The EU provides support to the Lebanese Government, judiciary, and municipalities. European educational assistance to Lebanon focuses on reducing drop-out rates and skills mismatch. This is also aimed at preventing the large-scale emigration of skilled Lebanese, and the replacement of the local workforce by refugees or migrant workers.
The EU provides financial support to civil society, to protect fundamental freedoms and strengthen the democratisation process, either through programmes with the government or through bilateral programmes with civil society organisations. There is also support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The EU has also become the largest donor in the field of mine action, including support for the Lebanese Mine Action Centre.
The EU is major donor for Crisis Response, Recovery and Stabilisation. Humanitarian assistance is provided through the European Commission’s Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO). The Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP) is the main mechanism through which the EU supports crisis preparedness and management, peace-building and reconciliation initiatives.
The EU is working to improve the legal rights and living conditions of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Support is mainly channelled through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), but also through non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Since 2011, the European Commission has allocated an additional EUR 769 million to the response in Lebanon to the spill-over of the Syrian crisis. A large part of non-humanitarian aid for Syria’s neighbouring countries to cope with the refugee crisis is channelled through the EU Regional Trust Fund (MADAD). The Trust Fund primarily addresses longer-term resilience needs of Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries, notably Lebanon.
In addition to the above regular and exceptional funding, Lebanon benefits from other cooperation mechanisms, including:
- The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) supporting civil society projects in the fields of democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms;
- Erasmus+ Programme promoting cooperation between higher education institutions;
- The Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) promoting investments by European financial institutions, in particular in the areas of transport, energy and the environment;
- The Horizon 2020 Programme and the Seventh Framework Programme(FP7) funding technology and innovation research projects;
- Thematic regional programmes promoting networks and integration in the Mediterranean, such as the Programme for Civil Society and Local Authorities.
European assistance in Lebanon is also directly provided by EU countries, as well as by European financial institutions, including the European Investment Bank (EIB).
NGOs can continuously monitor open and scheduled calls for proposals (and the respective guidelines for applicants) at the following link: https://webgate.ec.europa.eu/europeaid/online-services/index.cfm