Legal documentation

Action Plan For EU-Lebanon 2013-2015

By Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Lebanon - http://eeas.europa.eu | - last updated :

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Introduction

Lebanon and the European Union are bound by the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreement in force since 2006. However, their contractual relations are significantly longer, dating back to the Trade and Technical Cooperation Agreement of 1965. Throughout this history, cooperation between Lebanon and the European Union has been good and progressively intensifying. Both parties share the commitment to democracy and human rights, as stated in the Association Agreement, as well as many common political and economic interests. On this basis they wish to further develop and strengthen their partnership.

The recent consecutive governments of Lebanon have stated their commitment to political and economic reforms through legislation, adjustment of policies and improvements of public administration. They emphasised their attachment to the principles enshrined in the Lebanese constitution and later agreements, including Lebanon’s sovereignty, independence, democratic set-up, fundamental freedoms, equality of all citizens, and unity in the nation’s territory, people and institutions. They also assured of their respect for international resolutions. The adherence to these principles, as well as the reform efforts based on them, enjoy the full support and encouragement by the European Union.

A new neighbourhood policy

In the face of the historical changes in the southern neighbourhood, the European Union has developed a new approach. It aims at providing responses best suited to rapid developments in the neighbouring countries, including the need to initiate or continue deep and substantial reforms, to establish and consolidate healthy democracies, to support sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and to manage cross-border implications. Lebanon contributed to the analysis that led the EU to develop this approach.

This revised European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) is based on mutual accountability and a shared commitment to the universal values of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It establishes a higher level of differentiation and determines the level of EU support according to the ambitions of the partner countries in terms of their rapprochement with the EU, their specific needs and available capacities, their progress in the implementation of reforms and in strengthening democracy and the rule of law, and their respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It further gives the possibility to translate the strengthening of relations into greater economic integration, increased mobility and a closer political cooperation in the areas of governance, security, conflict resolution and coordination in international fora in matters of common interest.

The new approach to neighbourhood policy aims to: (a) provide increased assistance to partners who engage in deepening democracy and respect for the rule of law, human rights and fundamental freedoms; (b) support the development of a sustainable and inclusive economy that reduces social and regional inequalities, creates jobs and improves living standards of the population; and (c) establish a closer partnership with the peoples and civil societies of the partner countries.

The new Action Plan

In light of the higher mutual ambitions in the given context, there are the right conditions for Lebanon and the EU to move ahead to the next stage of their relationship. This second EU-Lebanon ENP Action Plan is a political document building up on the provisions of the Association Agreement that identify areas of cooperation. To give this Action Plan a more operational character, the parties agree to focus on a limited number of jointly identified priority objectives. These are defined below with the help of benchmarks and indicators, which outline the specific milestones leading to the achievement of each priority objective and the data or particular steps that allow measuring progress, respectively. Timelines indicate periods of implementation. The definition of each priority objective includes possible EU interventions in terms of cooperation, assistance offered or resources mobilised (where reference is made to existing instruments, it is understood to relate also to next-generation, i.e. post-2013, instruments). Future EU-Lebanon financial cooperation and assistance will be programmed in coherence with this Action Plan. Further objectives are set out in the annex, which covers the areas of cooperation foreseen in the Association Agreement and functions as the reference document for its implementation. The Action Plan shall have an initial duration of three years.

To ensure the best possible implementation as well as to establish the link between the progress toward the priority objectives defined above and the assistance provided, regular monitoring and assessment will be conducted by the Association Committee and the sub- committees established under the Association Agreement, and by means of Progress Reports of each party. If the parties identify the need they may, while acting in agreement, decide to adjust the Action Plan for the forthcoming year(s) as appropriate. When the date of expiry approaches, the parties will assess the overall level of implementation of this Action Plan. Based on such assessment they may decide to extend the duration by one year, and subsequently upon the expiry of such an extension by a further year in each step. The responsibility for taking the aforementioned decisions lies with the Association Council.