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European Neighbourhood Policy: Lebanon

European Neighbourhood Policy: Lebanon

The European Commission today took the next step in intensifying relations with Lebanon by presenting a Country Report providing a comprehensive overview of the political and economic situation in Lebanon and the state of its bilateral relations with the European Union. Following the previous recommendation by the Council to develop an Action Plan for Lebanon under the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), this report provides a basis for the development of that plan. It may also serve as a basis for assessing future progress in the EU’s relations with Lebanon. With the resignation of the Lebanese Government, and elections scheduled for May, the evolution of the situation there will influence the timing of consultations. The ENP offers the prospect of an increasingly close relationship with the EU, involving a significant degree of economic integration and a deepening of political cooperation.

Commissioner for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, commented “The European Neigbourhood Policy gives us the opportunity to take our relationship with Lebanon up a gear. I am looking forward to working with Lebanon to develop an Action Plan as a joint agenda for action in the coming years. Progress in our relationship will reflect the efforts and successes of the country itself. The timing of the next stage of our work will be influenced by the evolution of the situation and the forthcoming elections. “

With the imminent entry into force of the EU-Lebanon Association Agreement, the Commission has today reported on progress made in Lebanon with regard to political and economic reforms. This Country Report assesses bilateral relations between the EU and Lebanon, reflecting progress under the existing Cooperation and Interim Agreements and describing the current situation in areas of particular interest for the ENP partnership: the development of political institutions based on the values – democracy, the rule of law, human rights – enshrined in the Agreement; regional stability and co-operation in justice and home affairs; and economic and social reforms that will create new opportunities for development and modernisation, for further liberalisation of trade and for gradual participation in the Internal Market.

The Action Plan will set out priorities for action in two broad areas:

• Joint commitments to specific actions which reinforce adherence to shared values in areas including democracy and the rule of law, administration of justice and human rights and to certain objectives in the area of foreign and security policy;

• Joint commitments to actions which will bring the EU and Lebanon closer in a number of priority fields such as economic and social development policy (including sustainable development), trade and internal market (including sectors such as energy, transport, environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, information society, research and innovation, justice and home affairs and people-to-people contacts).

For more information on the European Neighbourhood Policy:

http://europa.eu.int/comm/world/enp/index_en.htm

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