BEIRUT, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU) will increase its financial assistance to Lebanon by 75 million euros (73.83 million U.S. dollars) in 2022 to support the country in light of its difficult social and economic situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Beirut port explosions.
"We will increase the amount of our assistance for Lebanon to establish good governance and strengthen state institutions and the various parties involved in this process," Oliver Varhelyi, EU commissioner for neighborhood and enlargement, was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the Lebanese Presidency after his meeting at Baabda Palace with Lebanese President Michel Aoun on Wednesday.
Europe is grateful for the tremendous effort that Lebanon has made in hosting refugees, and it notices that Lebanon's hosting of Syrian refugees exceeds the country's capabilities, Varhelyi said, adding "this is why the EU has allocated 154 million euros this year to help Lebanon adapt to this reality."
For his part, Aoun urged the EU commissioner to help Lebanon implement its strategy to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees to their homeland.
Aoun also gave an overview to Varhelyi about the impact of hosting Syrian refugees on Lebanon's infrastructure and various aspects of life in the country. ■