The Ambassadors of the European Union and EU Member States were received today by H.E. Prime Minister Saad Hariri to discuss the latest political developments in the country, as well as EU-Lebanon relations.
The EU Ambassadors highlighted the election of President Michel Aoun and the formation of a government of national accord under Prime Minister Hariri's leadership as important steps towards the full functioning of State institutions in Lebanon. They also stressed the importance of holding timely parliamentary elections and expressed the EU's readiness to support Lebanon in this regard. Ambassador Christina Lassen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, addressed Prime Minister Hariri by saying: "We are confident that you will exercise similar leadership in upcoming discussions on the legal framework to allow for the timely, transparent and peaceful holding of parliamentary elections, which would contribute to the democratic legitimacy of the State institutions."
The EU Ambassadors underscored the importance of Lebanon being the first country to sign Partnership Priorities with the European Union in 2016 reflecting the mutual interests between Europe and Lebanon. The EU remains fully committed to support Lebanon in the formidable challenge of hosting Syrian refugees. The EU has allocated EUR 1.1 billion in assistance to Lebanon including to refugees from Syria and vulnerable host communities since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, of which EUR 360 million in 2016 alone. Added to this comes the significant bilateral contributions from EU Member States, bringing the total support to more than EUR 2 billion.
"The EU is fully aware of the impact that the Syrian crisis has had especially on the most vulnerable in Lebanon, and the efforts that the Lebanese state and population have been undertaking to face this challenge," Ambassador Lassen stated.
The EU Ambassadors reiterated their support to the efforts made by the Lebanese Armed Forces and the security agencies to preserve Lebanon's stability and security, particularly when it comes to fighting terrorism, preventing radicalisation, maintaining internal stability and upgrading control on Lebanon's borders. They also expressed the need to invest in protecting human rights and described the passing of the law that established the National Human Rights Institution in Lebanon as a step forward in enhancing the legal framework for the protection of rights and freedoms.