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EU Ambassador to Lebanon: It’s Important to Hold Elections Under the Constitution | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, in this file picture taken October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir/File

Beirut – The head of the European Union Delegation to Lebanon, Ambassador Christina Lassen, said that Lebanese officials, with whom she has recently met, have expressed optimism towards an agreement over a new parliamentary electoral law.

The ambassador said she hoped that such an agreement would be reached soon and that parliamentary elections would be held in accordance with the Constitution.

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Lassen said the proper functioning of state institutions was essential to preserve the country’s safety and stability.

“We have been hearing recently about much optimism in politicians’ stances regarding an agreement over a new electoral law, and this is very good to the country”, the EU official noted.

She stressed in this regard the European Union’s keenness on holding, as soon as possible, “fair and transparent elections”, in line with the Lebanese constitution.

She added that the EU delegation was ready to assist the country in holding and supervising the elections and organizing the electoral process.

On the security situation, Lassen said that since 2014, Lebanon has been facing a major security challenge, with the presence of terrorist groups on its borders with Syria.

She stressed that the Lebanese security forces have been carrying out “a very good job”, and were facing such threats with “high efficiency”.

The ambassador added that the EU was working with the Lebanese authorities to draft a national counter-terrorism strategy, in addition to cooperation in the field of aviation and airport safety, fighting violent extremism and countering terrorism financing through collaboration with the Lebanese central bank (BDL).

Asked about new measures adopted by the government to deal with the refugee crisis, Lassen underlined the major security and financial challenges the country was facing due to the heavy flow of Syrian refugees.

She praised the Lebanese government’s determination to set an economic vision to deal with such challenges and its decision to invest in infrastructure to create new job opportunities.

On the EU’s support to refugees in Lebanon, Lassen noted that over the past five years, the Union has greatly increased its assistance to the Syrian refugees and the Lebanese communities hosting them.

“The European Union has offered more than 2 billion Euros to Lebanon, including assistance provided by European states,” she said.

She also highlighted the importance of a recent project of 62 million Euros held in collaboration with the Lebanese heath ministry.