On 2 December, High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell took part alongside the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, in the “Conference in support of the Lebanese people”, hosted by President of France Emmanuel Macron and the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres. The conference followed the one that took place on 9 August, after the devastating explosion in Beirut port on 4 August.
The situation in Lebanon remains very fragile, with the Beirut explosion and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating the pre-existing political and socio-economic crises the country is facing. High Representative/Vice-President Borrell reiterated the EU’s strong and continued support to the people of Lebanon in these difficult times.
In the aftermath of the Beirut blast, the EU mobilised more than €70 million for first emergency and humanitarian needs. Additional support amounting to almost €100 million is in the pipeline. This will bring the total EU response to close to €170 million euros.
The EU has also undertaken jointly with the World Bank and the United Nations a Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment which is now being operationalised via the Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction (3RF) structure, a recovery and reconstruction framework that bridges the immediate humanitarian response with medium-term recovery and reconstruction efforts. The purpose is that Lebanon should build back better guided by the principles of transparency, inclusion and accountability.
In his intervention in the Conference, Josep Borrell reiterated EU’s appreciation to Lebanon for hosting the largest number of refugees per capita in the world and for accommodating proportionally the highest number of Syrian refugees. The EU has provided large-scale aid to both the Syrian refugees and to host communities in Lebanon, and will continue to do so. He also reaffirmed EU’s commitment to the unity, sovereignty, stability, independence, and territorial integrity of Lebanon.
During the Conference, Josep Borrell restated that the EU stands ready to continue supporting the Lebanese people. He also called on all Lebanese stakeholders and political forces to support the urgent formation of a reform-driven, credible and accountable government, and recalled that EU substantial assistance for the reconstruction will depend on tangible progress on necessary reforms.