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Brussels – The European Union has developed a financial support package of 1 billion euros for Lebanon. In this way, Europe wants to strengthen the socio-economic stability of the country, but it is also counting on “good cooperation” with Beirut to combat illegal migration. Belgium – still the president of the Council until the end of June – is satisfied with the initiative of the European Commission.

It was Commission President Ursula von der Leyen who announced the support package on Thursday during a working visit to Lebanon. It involves an amount of 1 billion euros, which will be made available between now and 2027, of which 736 million euros is intended to help Lebanon manage the refugee crisis in the country.

On behalf of ‘Team Europe’, Von der Leyen had already concluded agreements with Libya, Egypt, and Mauritania to control illegal migration to Europe, among other things. The cooperation agreement with Lebanon has partly the same purpose. “We commit ourselves to keeping legal channels to Europe open and to resettle refugees residing in Lebanon in the EU,” she said, but “at the same time, we count on a good cooperation with you to prevent illegal migration and to combat the smuggling of migrants.”

Council President Belgium is pleased with the agreement between Brussels and Beirut. “Partnerships with third countries are extremely important for our migration management and to support countries that host many refugees,” says Secretary of State for Asylum and Migration Nicole de Moor (CD&V). “Lebanon hosts 1.5 million Syrians, which is a lot. We must ensure that they can continue to do so under good conditions.”