Ambassador Christina Lassen, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Lebanon, met today with Prime Minister Saad Hariri to discuss the political, economic and security situation in the country. The EU Ambassador congratulated the Prime Minister on the Lebanese Armed Forces’ (LAF) successful military operation targeting militants in the area around Arsal and reaffirmed the EU’s commitment to support the LAF and security agencies in fighting terrorism and securing Lebanon’s borders, including by stepping up EU support for integrated border management.

The Prime Minister and Ambassador Lassen discussed the government’s efforts to reach an agreement on the national budget, the wages and tax laws as well as of the preparations for the parliamentary elections. Ambassador Lassen welcomed the formation of the Election Supervisory Commission, underlined the importance of holding elections in line with the electoral calendar and reiterated the EU’s willingness to deploy an EU Election Observation Mission. On the economic situation, Ambassador Lassen inquired about the state of the Capital Investment Plan and reaffirmed “the EU’s commitment to support the government’s efforts to enhance Lebanon’s economic development” and underlined the importance of the deficit being contained.

Both sides agreed to closely coordinate efforts leading up to the planned second EU conference in Brussels on “Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region” in Spring 2018 announced last week by EU High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini as well as related conferences. On this basis, Ambassador Lassen underlined the need to keep the international community’s attention and response to the Syrian crisis on top of the international agenda and encouraging the full implementation of commitments taken in Brussels in April 2017.

Ambassador Lassen addressed the continuous challenge posed by solid waste management notably in Beirut and Mount Lebanon, and discussed with the Prime Minister solutions to address the issue. She said: “Moving forward with the adoption of the law on integrated solid waste management is critical at this juncture. In this regard, the discussion would benefit from the experience accumulated by the private sector and the civil society. The EU stands ready to assist in organising consultations and to provide expertise.”