Skip to main content

Fears mount EU's $1.1B migration aid to Lebanon will feed political corruption

Officials and experts who spoke to Al-Monitor highlighted the Lebanese government's history of misusing international aid meant to help the economy and address the country's migration crisis.
Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati welcomes European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the Grand Serail government headquarters in Beirut on May 2, 2024. During the visit, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen announced $1 billion in aid for Lebanon as the east Mediterranean country struggles with an economic meltdown exacerbated by a migrant crisis and the threat of war with Israel. (Photo by JOSEPH EID / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH EID/AFP via Getty Images)

The 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) in financial aid that the EU announced to Lebanon last week will fall short of expectations, according to the Middle Eastern nation’s former economic minister, Nasser Saidi.

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Saidi said that the financial package will not achieve its objective of ensuring the country’s stability and stemming migration to Europe; rather, it will fuel government corruption. 

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced the funds on May 2 during a joint news briefing in Beirut with Lebanon's Prime Minister Najib Mikati and Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides. Much of the pressure to reach the deal came from Cyprus, which has seen more than 2,000 Syrian refugees arrive from Lebanon by sea in the first three months of 2024, compared to 78 in the same period last year.

The funds will be available from 2024 to 2027, the EU’s top official said. She added that they would provide Lebanese armed forces with equipment and training necessary to manage the border and prevent smuggling. 

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.