Lebanon is going through challenging times, with a deep-rooted economic, social and political crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the explosion at the port of Beirut on 4 August 2020. Lebanese and others have lost their lives to tragic events, many are facing unprecedented economic hardship. Today, more than ever, the European Union reiterates its commitment to the people of Lebanon and offers its support to help them navigate these trying times.
The European Union, whose first Delegation to Lebanon was established in 1979, has witnessed numerous periods of unrest in the country, as well as times of economic growth and stability. Together, we had a vision for a stable, prosperous and peaceful Lebanon where all people are respected, protected, empowered, and have an equal chance to develop themselves and live a life in dignity, with opportunities and individual freedoms.
Our projects and interventions in Lebanon have addressed many priorities over the years, from investments into infrastructure, economic growth and the protection of the environment, to human rights, good governance and security.
In recent times, projects funded by the European Union have adapted to the harsh reality following the economic collapse, the tragic explosion in Beirut and the COVID-19 pandemic. We have readjusted our work to meet the emerging and pressing needs of the Lebanese people. Humanitarian aid was delivered following 4 August, and with the United Nations and the World Bank Group, we are paving the way for the recovery and reconstruction of Beirut. We support the most vulnerable in the country with social assistance, healthcare, education and access to basic services. With Lebanon’s vibrant civil society, we continue to defend human rights and freedom of speech, and to work for good governance and the fight against corruption.
But this is not enough to emerge from the current deep-seated crisis.
Lebanon needs a new governance model built on transparency and accountability. Lebanon must prioritise government formation today and form a credible and accountable government that will prioritise economic recovery and reforms. Addressing the financial and economic crisis should be its first concern. Finally, Lebanon needs to live up to its democratic principles and hold elections on time in 2022, to renew the legitimacy of its institutions and address the people’s aspirations.
The European Union stands ready to support Lebanon in these challenging times.
We are here because we care.
EU Ambassador to Lebanon