The main goal of the European Union and Lebanon partnership is Lebanon’s development as a stable, democratic, politically open and economically strong neighbour of the EU. Adopted in 2002 and in force since 1 April 2006, the Lebanon Association Agreement is the legal basis for the partnership with the EU. The EU-Lebanon European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan sets out the areas for cooperation under this Association Agreements: respect for democratic principles and fundamental human rights, political dialogue, cooperation in the economic and social sectors and improved cultural understanding.
The European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) is the main EU financial instrument for 2014-2020. Thematic assistance programmes – for example, on human rights or civil society – are additional funding sources.
In 2014 – 2016 EU's assistance to Lebanon will focus on three priority sectors:
- Justice and security system reform
- Reinforcing social cohesion, promoting sustainable economic development and protecting vulnerable groups
- Promotion of sustainable and transparent management of energy and natural resources
Complementary support for capacity development and civil society can be provided also outside these priority sectors.
Key objectives, results and indicative financial allocations are outlined in the Single Support Framework 2014-16.
For 2014-2016, EU's assistance to Lebanon may range between a minimum allocation of €130 million and a maximum allocation of €159 million. These figures are indicative: final allocations will depend on the country’s needs and commitment to reforms. The funding comes from the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI).
In 2014, EU bilateral funding through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) amounted to €67 million and supported: Protection and sustainable development of maritime resources (€19 million); Upgrading solid waste management capacities (€21 million); Building national stability (€12 million), and Provision of waste water services for vulnerable populations (€15 million).
In 2015 an allocation of €40 million has been divided in five programmes: “Supporting the private sector development in Lebanon” aiming at providing integrated non-financial and financial intermediation services to groups of micro, small and medium enterprises (€15 million); “Supporting Lebanon Inclusive and Sustainable Socio-Economic Development through Mine Action” to sustain EU support to Lebanon for clearance and land release for an inclusive and sustainable development as well as support to victims (€10 million), “Improvement of housing of the most vulnerable Palestine refugees in Lebanon” (€5 million), a provision for “Technical Assistance for the Government of Lebanon” (€5 million) and a “Civil Society Support to Reform and Local Development in Lebanon” programme (€5 million).
EU assistance has also been provided to Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon under various budget lines, including ENI (see above), in the areas of: water, sanitation, economic development, education and training, culture and health.
In Lebanon, all EU cooperation is implemented through grant or loan projects either with the Government or with NGOs or International Organisations, there are no budget support interventions.
Syrian refugee crisis
The EU has spearheaded the international response to the Syrian crisis (including actions in Syria and in the affected neighbouring countries) with over €4 billion of total budget mobilised collectively so far. For Lebanon, the Commission’s total funding in response to the Syrian crisis amounts to €489.6 million (humanitarian and development assistance) addressing both refugees and host communities’ needs in particular when dealing with infrastructures: water, waste water, solid waste management but also in the health and education sectors.
Additionally, the Commission adopted in December 2014, a decision establishing an EU Regional Trust Fund (EUTF) in response to the Syrian crisis, the ‘Madad fund’. The Trust Fund will benefit Syria and the neighbouring countries, including Lebanon. A first series of programmes for an amount of €41 million has been approved in May 2015.
The EU programmes are aligned with priorities in the Lebanese Government's response plan to the consequences of the influx of refugees from Syria, and integrated in the various documents such as 1) Regional Response Plans (RRP), 2) the Lebanon Roadmap of Priority Interventions for Stabilization from the Syrian Conflict and 3) the ‘Reaching All Children with Education in Lebanon’ launched by the Minister of Education to ensure vulnerable school-aged children affected by the Syria crisis access quality formal and non-formal learning opportunities.
Other Budget lines
In addition to bilateral cooperation programmes, Lebanon also participates in regional and Neighbourhood-wide cooperation programmes under the ENI.
A significant share of the humanitarian assistance for the refugees is managed by the EU’s Directorate-General for Humanitarian aid and Civil protection.
The “European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR)” and the thematic programme for Civil Society and Local Authorities provide funding for civil society organisations in order to promote human rights and good governance and to strengthen participatory development and inclusion of all actors. The country allocation for Lebanon for 2014-2017 is €2.4 million for EIDHR (€0.6 million provided in 2014) and €2,89 million for thematic programme for Civil Society and Local Authorities (€1.4 million provided in 2014).
In the higher education sector, Lebanon also participates in the Erasmus+ programme , which supports modernisation of the sector and promotes mobility and co-operation with EU higher education institutions.
Lebanon is also eligible for funding under the EU’s twinning programme.
European Investment Bank loans
Lebanon has also benefited from long-term loans and risk capital facilities, provided and managed by the European Investment Bank (EIB), notably for road transport infrastructure and waste water projects.