EU-Lebanon Association Agreement

The "Euro-Mediterranean Agreement establishing an Association between the European Community and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Lebanon, of the other part" was signed in Luxembourg on 17 June 2002 and entered into force on 1 April 2006.

Based on respect of democratic principles and fundamental human rights, the Association Agreement provides a framework for political dialogue, co-operation in economic policy, including approximation of laws and application of Community standards to support Lebanon's efforts to achieve sustainable economic and social development and the gradual establishment of a free trade area, as well as close co-operation in the social field particularly promoting the role of women and a better understanding amongst cultures.

This Agreement forms part of the Barcelona Process (Euro-Mediterranean partnership). Although all the Euro-Mediterranean Association Agreements reflect the general principles governing the new Euro-Mediterranean relationship, each contains characteristics specific to the relations between the parties.

Co-operation on counter terrorism is covered in a separate exchange of letters between Lebanon and the EU.

The Agreement commits both parties to further liberalisation of bilateral trade in various sectors. An Interim Agreement on trade and trade related matters allowed the trade and trade-related contents of the Association Agreement to enter into force on 1 March 2003 and formally triggered the start of the 12 year transition period to free trade, one of the fundamental planks to the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership.

Article 5 of the Agreement addresses political dialogue and states:
"A political dialogue shall be established between the Euro- pean Parliament and the Lebanese Parliament."

EU-Lebanon Action Plan

The EU launched its European Neighbourhood Policy in 2004 in a document titled "Wider Europe - Neighbourhood". The Policy created a framework for the EU's relations with 16 of the EU's Eastern and Southern Neighbours - including Lebanon - in order to achieve the closest possible political association and the greatest possible degree of economic integration.

The ENP was reviewed in 2011, following the Arab uprisings, and again in November 2015. While the policy generally aims to foster stabilisation, security and prosperity, the specifics of the EU's efforts depend largely on the bilateral relationship with the country concerned.
There are 16 countries defined as part of the ENP. Of these, 12, including Lebanon, have agreed on bilateral Action Plans or Association Agendas with the EU. These set out a series of political and economic reforms with short and medium-term priorities of 3 to 5 years. ENP Action Plans/Association Agendas reflect the needs, capacities an interests of the country and the EU.

The actions foreseen in the Plan's section on "Enhanced political dialogue and reform" include "Establish a political dialogue between the European Parliament and the Lebanese Parliament."
A second Action Plan was adopted in 2014 to cover the 2013-2015 period. That document foresees the "Continuation of the established dialogue between the European Parliament and the Lebanese Parliament." It also contains a series of specific measures relating to "Election reform aiming to achieve international standards and enhancement of the effectiveness of the Lebanese Parliament".

EEAS description of EU-Lebanon relations

The website of the European External Action Service (EEAS) provides an overview of relations between Lebanon and the European Union.

The following aspects of the relationship are described:
  • political relations
  • economic relations
  • trade relations
  • technical & financial cooperation.