European Commission pledges additional €30m in support for Lebanon

The executive made the pledge on Sunday at an international virtual conference on assistance and support to Beirut.
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By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

10 Aug 2020

The Commission said the funding would help address the immediate needs of those affected by the deadly explosion in Beirut on 4 August, that killed more than 130 people. This comes on top of the €33m already pledged.

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in a phone call with the Lebanese President, said the EU would do everything it could to help.

Representing the Commission at Sunday’s conference, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič echoed this, saying, “The EU has been helping Lebanon since immediately after the explosion, mobilising hundreds of search and rescue experts and sending medical aid to Beirut.”

“I thank all European countries that have put solidarity into action. As needs rise, we are providing humanitarian support to hundreds of thousands of the most vulnerable people.”

He added, “In these critical hours, the EU is providing shelter, emergency healthcare, water and sanitation, and food assistance. We are committed to stand by the people of Lebanon today and in the long term to help them recover.”

The new EU humanitarian funding will be channelled to UN agencies, NGOs and international organisations and be strictly monitored. This assistance, says the Commission, will benefit hundreds of thousands of the most affected people to cover essential needs.

“In these critical hours, the EU is providing shelter, emergency healthcare, water and sanitation, and food assistance. We are committed to stand by the people of Lebanon today and in the long term to help them recover” Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management

Meanwhile, Council President Charles Michel travelled to Beirut on Sunday to convey “EU solidarity” with the people in Lebanon.

He visited the Port of Beirut, the scene of the blast, to see for himself the scale of the disaster and called for an independent enquiry to “shed light” on the causes of this catastrophe.

During his visit, Michel met with representatives of the Lebanese Red Cross and paid respect to the rescue teams, including Europeans, who he said were “working around the clock and showing tremendous courage.”

“I'm touched by the bravery of the Lebanese people who have been hit by this tragedy in an already difficult context. The EU is a long-standing friend and partner. We are in full solidarity with Lebanon more than ever in these difficult times,” he said.

So far, the EU has activated its emergency mechanisms and mobilised €33m for emergency needs. Currently, more than 250 rescuers from Member States are on the ground in Beirut.

Michel, who said tons of emergency supplies have been made available, also urged all Member States to intensify their support to Lebanon both for the immediate needs and for the longer-term reconstruction.

“I'm touched by the bravery of the Lebanese people who have been hit by this tragedy in an already difficult context. The EU is a long-standing friend and partner. We are in full solidarity with Lebanon more than ever in these difficult times” Charles Michel, European Council President

He said, “It is key that assistance reaches those who need it.”

Michel also met the speaker of the Lebanese parliament, Nabih Berri, and president of the Council of Ministers, Hassan Diab.

“The unity and stability of Lebanon are all the more crucial today, both internally, and also for the whole region,” said Michel, who also underlined the importance of structural reforms in line with the government's reform plan and to adopt anti-corruption measures.

“An agreement with the International Monetary Fund is urgently needed.”

“Local political forces should seize the opportunity and unite around a national effort to respond to the immediate needs but also more long-term challenges the country is facing. It’s of critical importance for Lebanon to implement the fundamental structural reforms.”

“The Lebanese can count on the EU in this effort - but internal unity is key,” added Michel.

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