"We must not forget that the security of the EU depends also on the security of Lebanon. The country expects the EU to help the region by participating in the reconstruction of Syria and creating "safe areas" for the return of refugees to their countries of origin. Bearing this in mind, the three planned donor conferences for the first half of 2018 in Rome, Paris and Brussels are extremely important. They are aimed at supporting the Lebanese economy, the army and dealing with the refugee situation,” said MEP Andrey Kovatchev after a fact-finding mission to Lebanon.
Lebanon in the frontline in dealing with a wave of refugees
Kovatchev visited the country together with EPP Group MEPs Brice Hortefeux, Ramona Mănescu and Tokia Saïfi. They went there to assess the political situation in the country, how it deals with a large number of refugees and also to discuss with Lebanese politicians cooperation within the framework of European Neighbourhood Policy. Parliamentary elections will take place in the country in the spring.
Stability in Lebanon and the wider region is important for Europe because the country is in the frontline in dealing with a wave of refugees, terrorism and extremism.
We often underline that Turkey has accommodated more than 2 million refugees, but we must not forget that the pressure on Lebanon is very high Andrey Kovatchev
Lebanon was one of the first countries where Syrian refugees went at the start of the war. Now there are about 2 million refugees - 1.6 million from Syria - while the population of Lebanon is four million people.
“We often underline that Turkey has accommodated more than 2 million refugees, but we must not forget that the pressure on Lebanon is very high,” added Kovatchev.
EPP Group members discussed the political situation in Lebanon and the region as a whole, as well as relations with the EU, with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil and the Chairman of the EU-Lebanon friendship group Yassin Jaber, as well as with representatives of the opposition party Ketaeb.
Prime Minister Hariri thanked the EU for its efforts during the meetings of the International Syria Support Group.
We must not forget that the security of the EU depends also on the security of Lebanon. The country expects the EU to help the region by participating in the reconstruction of Syria.
The Foreign Minister said that “what is good for Lebanon is good for Europe and what is good for Europe is good for Lebanon, too” and that he hopes the EU will play a more leading role in the Middle East.
Lebanon expects the EU to help the region by taking part in the reconstruction of Syria and by establishing safe zones for returning refugees.