EU Aid to Lebanon Raises Concerns Amid Ongoing Economic, Refugee Crises

Lebanon’s economy remains in a state of crisis, with the local currency plummeting to less than 10% of its pre-2019 value, Al Jazeera reported yesterday.

According to the article, Savings have been wiped out, and over 80% of the population now lives below the poverty line, with 36% in “extreme poverty” on less than $2.15 per day.

In what was seen as a potential lifeline, the European Union recently announced a 1 billion euro ($1.06 billion) aid package for Lebanon. However, the terms of the deal have raised concerns among analysts and human rights groups, the report added.

The EU states that nearly three-quarters of the funds are earmarked to “ensure the wellbeing of host communities and Syrian refugees” in Lebanon, which has taken in millions of Syrians fleeing the 13-year civil war. This focus on the refugee crisis has led some to question whether the aid is truly aimed at addressing Lebanon’s broader economic challenges.

Over the past three years, the EU has provided over 3 billion euros ($3.3 billion) in assistance to Lebanon, with much of the funding intended to help Syrian refugees become self-sufficient and support local Lebanese communities. However, there are widespread allegations that the money has been misappropriated by corrupt politicians and businessmen, with little tangible impact.

The latest aid package comes as Lebanon’s government has been criticized for its treatment of Syrian refugees, including reported forced deportations of thousands in 2023. Human rights groups have decried this behavior, arguing that the EU’s decision to provide further funding effectively rewards such actions.

As Lebanon’s economic crisis deepens, analysts remain skeptical that the EU’s latest assistance will have a meaningful impact on the lives of ordinary Lebanese citizens. With corruption and political considerations seemingly taking precedence, the country’s acute economic challenges appear poised to endure.

Related Articles

Back to top button