| 29 February 2024, Thursday |

European sources to “Sawt Beirut International”: Borrell showed how to help the Lebanese people

The interests of the High Representative for Foreign Policy and Strategic Security in the European Union, Josep Borrell, were not limited to pressing for the formation of a rescue government as soon as possible before European sanctions were launched against its obstructers. Diplomatic sources who accompanied the European official’s visit to “Sawt Beirut International” revealed that his concerns also dealt with what can be done for the Lebanese people considering the delay in implementing the rescue path established by the French initiative, as the economic distress experienced by the Lebanese constitutes a European concern, which necessitates the necessity of Doing something to mitigate its effects on people.

In addition to Borrell’s position that the union doesn’t want sanctions that harm or punish the Lebanese people, the Europeans want economic and life assistance to the Lebanese. So that when he offered this assistance to the officials, they informed him if the union could support the financing card that constitutes the social safety net. And Dorrell was not opposed to lifting subsidies, but rather he believes that social security must be provided to the poor and weak before the gradual lifting of subsidies. As for the officials, they told him that support has been in place since 2011, and now the card is given to any Lebanese who is assured that he needs it, by not having any property or an account in banks, and they reminded him that the Union supports the program of assistance for 50,000 Lebanese families in a transparent and automated manner clear. And if the union can help in the program of support for 750,000 families through a project that is not distributed through state mechanisms, but directly from the union to the people according to the way the union wants.

The European official also understood that the resigned government cannot move in the presence of a caretaker, only ministerial meetings chaired by its president, Hassan Diab, without being able to invite the Council of Ministers. And 11 years ago, the cabinet was not convened in the case of a caretaker, except once during the days of President Najib Mikati. The European official was a good listener and said that the union can help Lebanon within the framework of mechanisms and funds in the context of a rescue operation, but the important thing is to obtain a program for that from the International Monetary Fund. And Lebanon must agree with the IMF on a program that includes reform plans. He pointed out that the card is important in the context of the emergency and the orientation that the United Nations and the European Union had after the explosion of the port was for the support that should come to people, and to help the economy as an economy.

In this context, the resigned Prime Minister, Hassan Diab, asked more than once to ask Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri about the extent of the government’s ability to work, what are the limits of its powers, and about any issues it can meet. Article 64 of the constitution is interpreted exclusively, and powers are denied to it except within a narrow framework, and no resigned government can impose obligations on the Lebanese state. Political sources reveal that several foreign ambassadors in Lebanon discussed with Berri the powers of the current government, and the answer came to them, that the government can meet this in public. But he returns to tell President Diab that according to Article 64, the government cannot meet. There is duplicity implicit, that is, a positive answer at times, and another declarative and definitive answer that the government cannot meet and warns that Article 64 does not allow this. Diab returns to explain to the ambassadors who reviewed him what is happening with him.

The foreign ambassadors are aware that Diab is “crammed”, but they are demanding that something be done for the Lebanese in the context of conducting business and to go further in the direction of approving the budget, as this requires a government meeting. Thus, two issues stand in the way of expanding the framework for conducting business, namely: that there is no green light for expansion, and if the resigned cabinet moves a lot, this will be taken as a reason to continue to obstruct the formation of a new government. Therefore, the issue of business management remains a cautious one for Diab. And now, in cases of extreme necessity, the President of the Republic and the government, exceptionally, agree to issues that cannot be stopped, such as Germany’s financing of projects such as sewage, which happened that the two presidents agreed in writing within the framework of an exceptional approval to accept the gift, because if it is not used, Lebanon loses the benefit. Including and the credit goes to other countries perhaps.

There is another issue that needs exceptional approval because the Italians have completed the construction of a sewage plant for the city of Zahle and its vicinity, at a cost of about $23 million. Construction was completed last February by the Italian company “SAZ”, and the Council for Development and Reconstruction is concerned with this, and the project is supposed to be run by the Zahle Electricity Authority, so the Italian ambassador came to say that the station should be handed over to Lebanon. Electricity Zahle said that it does not have the financial capacity to operate the station, nor to maintain it. Italy was asked to remain in the project management, and to be able to complete it requires an exceptional signature from the President of the Republic and the government. This matter is under treatment, and it is supposed to be decided based on the exceptional approval before Lebanon loses the project.

  • Sawt Beirut International