Lebanon Businessnews News

$428 million from EU
allocated for 2016-2017
Potential for additional funds
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The EU has pledged at least €400 million ($428 million) to be allocated in 2016 and 2017 toward five priority actions agreed to between the Government and the EU at a London conference. Additional funds may be made available. The priorities aim at supporting and strengthening local resilience and stability. They also seek to address the impact of the protracted conflict in Syria.

A national counter-terrorism strategy forms the first priority. It aims to reform institutional capacities relating to law enforcement, and security management.

The second priority concerns the promotion of transparency and stability in governance and the rule of law. It includes the protection of free speech and an independent press. Reform of the justice system and an efficient public sector are also targeted.

The third priority will see Lebanon and the EU working on fostering growth and job opportunities. Municipalities will be empowered to be in a better position to help deprived areas.

The EU will examine the possibility of using concessional finance for the expansion of critical infrastructure to enhance the productivity of high priority sectors. This would include special grants, non-financial assistance, and concessional loans.

The goal aims to support critical infrastructure such as electricity, water, waste management and transportation. A joint working group will be established to further facilitate trade and reduce existing non-tariff barriers for goods and services. A mutual interest exists in boosting the trade relationship by increasing the competitiveness of the industrial products, the services sector, and the agricultural and agro-food sector.

Increased attention will be given to the environment through energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste management, water management and natural resources conservation.

The fourth priority concerns migration and mobility. Negotiations are underway to launch a joint mobility partnership. Both sides will seek to strengthen their cooperation to reinforce local capacity to manage both regular and irregular migration.

The fifth priority is mechanisms for dialogue and mutual coordination. The general framework for cooperation between Lebanon and the EU is the Association Agreement, which entered into force in 2006. Work will be implemented to rationalize and optimize the Agreement by rethinking dialogues and sub-committees.

The five priorities are to be carried out during the period 2016–2020.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Nov 17, 2016
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