As you know, there was a devastating explosion on the 4th of August in Beirut that struck the country in the financial, economic, and political dimension. The situation is compounded by the [coronavirus] pandemic and the consequences of the conflict in Syria, including the fact that Lebanon has been hosting over a million Syrian refugees for many years now. Last week, additionally, we witnessed a huge fire in the port of Beirut.
I am proud to say that our response to the explosion was swift and solid. We mobilised civil protection, immediate humanitarian and crisis response in the amount of €63 million. Our civil protection mechanism mobilised 17 Member States plus Norway and Turkey, with search and rescue teams and medical care providing life-saving assistance.
Our determination is strong and clear. The European Union is a long-standing partner and a major donor of humanitarian, development and other assistance to Lebanon and we remain committed to assisting the Lebanese people in the upcoming period.
Going forward, and as called for by President Macron during his visit on the 1st of September, we want to quickly see the formation of a capable, representative and accountable Lebanese government. It should deliver on a credible reform agenda as the Lebanese people has long been claiming. Concrete steps to reform the financial system and to adopt anti-corruption measures remain vital. As important are the reforms of the electricity sector and public procurement.
Lebanon also needs to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund in order to solve its deep economic crisis. (..)
Finally, an independent and credible investigation into the explosion should be conducted – and we stand ready to help.
We want to help Lebanon, but Lebanon must also do its part and urgently proceed to implement longstanding reforms.