The EU Council of Ministers agreed on Monday to provide €80 million ($114 million) in macro-financial aid to Lebanon.
The aid package „will support Lebanon’s economic and social program for reconstruction and development, notably through a contribution to reducing Lebanon’s high stock of public debt and strengthen its fiscal policy,” said a news release from the EU Commission. The fund would also facilitate and encourage progress in the implementation of the EU-Lebanon European Neighborhood Policy Action Plan.
This macro-financial aid package consists of €50 million ($71 million) in loans and €30 million ($42.6 million) in grants, the news release said. The aid disbursements „will be subject to progress being made in the implementation of the Emergency Post-Conflict Arrangement with the International Monetary Fund and of structural and social reforms aiming at fiscal sustainability and poverty reduction. I am particularly glad for the approval today of this macro-financial assistance for Lebanon,” said European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia. „This is a concrete expression of the European support to the Lebanese people at such a difficult economic and political crossroads and following last year’s military conflict,” the commissioner added. „I hope this financial assistance will help further the process of stabilisation of Lebanon.
It is now crucial for the Lebanese to come to an agreement and elect a president, „ said Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner, in charge of External Relations and European Neighborhood Policy. „We welcome the first steps which indicate that a solution could be reached in the not too far future. We continue to be ready to support the political reform process in Lebanon especially through the European Neighborhood Policy,” she said. The assistance, a policy-based financial instrument to the balance of payments, complements financing from the European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument and from the European Investment Bank.
Lebanon is one of the EU partner countries in the framework of the European Neighborhood Policy, which aims at developing an increasingly close relationship between the EU and partner countries, moving from traditional trade and co-operation towards deeper integration. (people.com.cn)