EU Announces $1 Billion Aid To Lebanon Amid Economic Crisis

Beirut: EU chief Ursula von der Leyen on Thursday announced $1 billion in aid for Lebanon during a visit to the country mired in an economic meltdown exacerbated by a migrant crisis and the threat of war with Israel.

“I can announce a financial package of $1 billion for Lebanon that would be available from this year until 2027,” she said, adding that “we want to contribute to Lebanon’s socio-economic stability”.

The European Commission president said the aid was designed to strengthen basic services such as education and health.

She called for the adoption of reforms, saying: “Lebanon needs a positive economic momentum to give opportunities to its businesses and citizens.”

Von der Leyen said the EU was committed to maintaining “legal pathways open to Europe” and resettling refugees to the bloc, but added that “at the same time, we count on your good cooperation to prevent illegal migration and combat migrant smuggling”.

Lebanon has faced a prolonged financial crisis and nearly seven months of border clashes between its powerful, Iran-backed Shiite movement Hezbollah and Israel.

It remains essentially leaderless, without a president and headed by a caretaker government with limited powers amid deadlock between entrenched political barons.

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