Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

EU Offers €1 Billion to Support Lebanon

Thu 02 May 2024 | 02:00 PM
Israa Farhan

During her visit to Beirut on Thursday, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, announced that the European Union has proposed a financial package of €1 billion ($1.07 billion) to support Lebanon's struggling economy and security forces.

Von der Leyen stated that the support package will help enhance essential services in Lebanon, including healthcare and education.

However, she emphasized the importance for Beirut to "move forward with economic, financial, and banking reforms" to revive the business environment and the banking sector.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Lebanese Caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, von der Leyen highlighted that the security support for the Lebanese army and internal security forces will focus on providing training, equipment, and infrastructure to improve border security management.

She clarified that the funds will be available from this year until 2027.

Lebanon's economy began to collapse in 2019 following years of overspending and corruption.

However, vested interests of the ruling elite have hindered financial reforms that could pave the way for Lebanon to receive a $3 billion aid package from the International Monetary Fund.

Allowing the crisis to worsen has resulted in most Lebanese losing access to their savings, the collapse of the local currency, and significant challenges for public institutions, from schools to the army, in continuing their operations.

Researchers note that this has coincided with an increase in migrant boats departing from Lebanese shores to Europe, primarily heading to nearby Cyprus and Italy.