A billion euros is not enough, Lebanon wants more out of refugee file

Samir Geagea announces continuation of the fight against Syrian refugees’ presence in Lebanon - May 6, 2024 (LBC)

Samir Geagea announces continuation of the fight against Syrian refugees’ presence in Lebanon - May 6, 2024 (LBC)


The file of Syrian refugees in Lebanon continues to dominate the statements of Lebanese officials and politicians, following the aid agreement with Cyprus and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

It seems that the amount included in the agreement, which is one billion euros, is not satisfactory for Lebanese politicians.

Lebanese parliament member, Ghassan Skaf, considered that the Syrian refugees in Lebanon are a “fireball” that will explode and its shrapnel will reach Europe.

In statements carried by the Lebanese National News Agency (NNA), today, Monday, May 6, he mentioned that the lack of clarity in the mechanism of distributing one billion euros, reinforces the hypothesis of “bribery.”

Meanwhile, parliament member Bilal Abdullah asked for an additional billion euros to “support the health sector in Lebanon,” to assist the Ministry of Health and hospitals, after the reduction of the health budget for Syrians.

Accusations and Lebanese dissatisfaction are not new, but are a continuation of statements made in the past two days by Lebanese politicians about the same matter.

The leader of the Free Patriotic Movement, Gebran Bassil, attacked the deal on May 4, considering that Europe is helping Cyprus so as not to lose one of its countries in the Union.

On May 2 of this year, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and President of Cyprus, Nikos Christodoulides arrived in Beirut, and der Leyen announced a financial package worth one billion euros for Lebanon that will be available from 2024 to 2027.

She stated that the European Union relies on Lebanon’s cooperation to prevent irregular migration and combat migrant smuggling.

Samir Geagea: We will not stop

The leader of the Lebanese Forces party, Samir Geagea, said in a series of posts on “X” today, that his position is “firm, principled, sovereign and does not change with one billion euros, or tens of billions.”

He added, “And we will continue in all that we are doing until the last illegal migrant is expelled from Lebanon.”

For its part, the Lebanese newspaper Al-Nahar said on Sunday that it is one of the oddities of the Lebanese political reality, that the news of the European grant explodes divisions and debates about it, more than the presence of Syrians in Lebanon.

Since 2011, the European Union has supported Lebanon with 2.6 billion euros, not only for Syrian refugees, but also for hosting communities.

Lebanon suffers from political, economic, and social crises, and Lebanese politicians typically blame the country’s problems on Syrian and Palestinian refugees, without there being serious actions to end the problems and find solutions.



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