A graffiti from the Human Rights Wall of Contemplation at the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum in Lebanon. Each graffiti in the wall represents an article from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Political Relations

The relations between the European Union and Lebanon are close and guided by the Association Agreement, in force since April 2006. The partnership is based on common values and interests, regular political, security, economic and social dialogue, wide-ranging people-to-people contacts, and substantial development and humanitarian assistance. It promotes political dialogue, free movement of goods, and economic, social and cultural cooperation. 

The EU and Lebanon have jointly decided on the priorities for bilateral relations and cooperation. Support for human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Lebanon takes various forms. The EU promotes the development of independent, effective and accountable public institutions, particularly within the justice system. The EU is an important partner of the Lebanese civil society.  

Lebanon's stability remains of paramount importance to the EU. 

A carpenter working at the EU funded Minjara platform in Tripoli, Lebanon.

Economic & Trade Relations

Economic relations between the EU and Lebanon are historically strong and were reinforced by the 2006 Association Agreement, which aims at establishing a bilateral Free Trade Area. Today, Lebanese industrial and (most) agricultural products benefit from free access to the EU market. The EU is Lebanon’s biggest trade partner and accounted for 30.3% of its total trade in goods in 2020. 

The Agreement is also an opportunity to modernise and increase the competitiveness of the Lebanese economy and its productive sectors. The EU has been calling on Lebanon to implement financial, economic and administrative reforms to improve its business and investment environment and attract international investments while benefiting from increased access to European financial assistance and technology transfer. 

Trade and Investment dialogue between the EU and Lebanon was intensified in 2016 with the creation of a Joint Working Group on Trade and Investment, whose aim is to further trade facilitation and assist Lebanon in boosting its trade export potential, productivity and competitiveness. The Agreement also strengthens Lebanon’s position in its negotiations to join the World Trade Organisation.

EU colleagues at a beach clean-up in Beirut in 2018.

Technical & Financial Cooperation

Since 2012, the European Commission has allocated over € 2.4 billion in financial aid and technical assistance to Lebanon.   

Among the various instruments at the disposal of the EU, a new Multi-annual Indicative Programming (MIP) is currently under preparation with funding from the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI) for the period 2022-2027. The MIP builds upon the achievements and lessons learned from previous programmes and is based on the bilateral relationship agreed in the EU-Lebanon Partnership Priorities and Compact.   

EU programmes aim to maximise the impact of EU assistance by ensuring synergies between the EU and its Member States progressing towards EU Joint Programming and Team Europe Initiatives.  

The previous bilateral framework (2014-2020) provided for an amount of over € 400M in three priority sectors of cooperation: 1) promoting growth and job creation; 2) fostering local governance and socio-economic development; 3) promoting rule of law, enhancing security and countering terrorism. 

Organisations can monitor open and scheduled calls for proposals at the following link

Non-Lebanese students attend second-shift classes, with the support of the EU and UNICEF.

EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis

The EU Regional Trust Fund in response to the Syrian Crisis aims at providing a coherent and reinforced aid response to the Syrian crisis on a regional scale, responding primarily to the needs of refugees from Syria in neighbouring countries, as well as of the communities hosting them and their administrations. As well as having a direct impact on the lives of Syrian refugees, Palestine Refugees from Syria and vulnerable host communities in Lebanon, the programmes have a common emphasis on pursuing a longer-term resilience agenda that has a transformative effect on public service delivery systems across a range of sectors in the country. Since 2015, the EU Trust Fund has been supporting projects in Education, Health, Protection, Livelihoods, Social Protection, Water and Local development for a value of more than €1 billion. 

A health worker at a warehouse ensures the delivery of essential medication to people in need, with the support of the EU and WHO.

COVID-19 Response

As the major donor to the Health sector in Lebanon, the EU swiftly adapted its projects in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Through its partners, the EU distributed 615,000 Personal Protective Equipment and thousands of disinfection kits, increased the isolation capacity of 10 public hospitals, supported 38 isolation centres, reconverted 67 ambulances (which transported 1,120 COVID-19 cases), conducted waste management activities and hygiene awareness campaigns. In addition, the EU financed a pilot project for home-care treatment for vulnerable COVID-19 patients with mild, moderate, and terminal diseases. 

With funding of € 8 million, the EU is currently preparing for the procurement and administration of 1.5 million doses of COVAX vaccines to 750,000 vulnerable Lebanese and Syrian refugees.  

Also in preparation are € 11 million to reinforce access to COVID-19 care and prevention, through the set-up of a mental health ward in a public hospital and through the restoration of functions at the Karantina Governmental Hospital, in particular the COVID-19 pediatrics unit. 

The new programming of funds to Lebanon for 2022 is under preparation and continuous support to vaccines is envisaged. 

A close look at the Lebanon Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework (3RF)

Lebanon Reform, Recovery & Reconstruction Framework (3RF)

The Reform, Recovery and Reconstruction Framework (3RF) was launched by the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank Group in December 2020. It provides a costed, prioritized plan of key actions across sectors following the tragic explosion of August 4, 2020.  

The 3RF aims to help Lebanon achieve three central goals. First, a people-centred recovery that returns sustainable livelihoods to the affected population; improves social justice for all, including women, the poor, and other vulnerable groups; and ensures participatory decision-making. Second, the reconstruction of critical assets, services, and infrastructure that provides equal access for all to quality basic services and enables sustainable economic recovery. Third, the implementation of reforms to support reconstruction and to help restore people’s trust in governmental institutions by improving governance. 

To promote a different way of working, the 3RF is designed as a collaborative process that is based on the participation of the government, civil society, the private sector as well as development partners. It is guided by the overarching principles of transparency, accountability, and inclusion. 

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    Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon
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    Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon

     

Additional Assistance

Lebanon benefits from other cooperation mechanisms, including:  

The EU continues to support Palestine refugees in Lebanon, mainly through the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), but also through NGOs.