Lebanon’s Crippling Crisis: Prospects for a Further EU Involvement in the Country’s Stability

The Mediterranean region and the European continent are inextricably linked from a geographical, historical, and strategic point of view. For this simple reason, it is impossible for the countries that lie on the two shores of this almost-closed sea to ignore each other for a long time. Consequently, international cooperation between them has always been intense, being reinforced by strong cultural and economic ties. Nevertheless, due to the high degree of instability that traditionally affects this area, the EU’s foreign policy towards many of its southern neighbours has usually been dominated by the theme of the security–development nexus. Lebanon is no exception. Having its modern history characterized by recurring social unrest, economic crises and civil wars, this small country has often drawn the attention of European policymakers. In 2019 the nation that was once called “the Switzerland of Middle East” has fallen again into a severe political paralysis and started to experience a deep economic downturn, which undermines inter alia the normal implementation of cooperation programmes with the EU (World Bank, 2021) The general election held in May 2022 was intended to put an end to this situation, but it didn’t. For as long as the crisis perseveres, risk Lebanon risks falling into another devastating civil war is becoming feasible. Therefore, stronger European engagement to maintain the country’s stability seems to be a matter of necessity, and it could be one of the last opportunities to save Lebanon from sinking.

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Will the EU train Ukraine?

On 29-30 August 2022, Prague hosted an informal meeting of the defence ministers of the EU Member States. The main topic of discussion on the agenda was the intensification of the training of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The relevance of the topic, after seven months of the armed conflict, is also related to the counteroffensive undertaken by Ukraine. European Union Training Missions (EUTM) are one of the instruments within the EU's integrated approach and, in general, they aim to strengthen the military capabilities of the EU's partners. To this end, EUTMs support the improvement of partner armed forces through training and advising on force reform to increase the effectiveness of defence sectors.

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