EU calls for swift formation of gov’t in Lebanon

BRUSSELS, The European Union (EU), Wednesday, warned that the lack of an empowered and accountable government in Lebanon was leading the country to disaster and called for an urgent formation of a cabinet.

“The continued lack-of an empowered and reform-minded and accountable government is leading the country towards disaster with the potential repercussions in the region and on the European Union,” Michael Miller, head of unit for Middle East section in the European Commission told the European Parliament in Brussels today.

On his part, Carl Hallegard, deputy-managing director of the European External Action Service for Middle East and North Africa, said Lebanon needs “political renewal” and stressed that elections should take place on time in 2022 and not postponed.

He said the crisis in Lebanon “is a domestic crisis, a self-imposed crisis and is not a crisis coming from abroad or from external factors. It is a crisis created by Lebanon’s leaders themselves.” “A fully-empowered government must be formed the soonest,” he said and urged all leaders to allow the designated Prime Minister Najib Mikati to form a government rapidly.

“Once there is a government, once crucial reforms have been implemented, the EU can and will do more,” he said and at the same noted that the EU is ready to step up pressure on the leadership.

He said that on 30 July the EU adopted a sanctions regime against those obstructing a political process or the implementation of necessary reforms in Lebanon.

Hallegard said that since the visit of EU High Representative Josep Borrell to Lebanon in June, “the situation has deteriorated”.

They were speaking at a debate on Lebanon hosted by the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

On his part, Jan Waszczykowski, vice chair of the foreign affairs committee, in his introductory remarks, said, “We are seeing a further political and economic deterioration in Lebanon”.

“Lebanon is facing the prospect of financial collapse. It’s too early to see whether the designated Prime Minister Najib Mikati will succeed in forming a new government,” he added.

Source: Kuwait News Agency