EU’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said a struggle for power and strong mistrust is behind the fight between Lebanese political leaders and the deadlock over forming a government.
“It is clear a fight for the distribution of power and I have to say there is also strong mistrust,” Borrell said before leaving Beirut on Sunday.
“It is difficult to get an agreement between people who don’t trust each other.”
Borrell was in Lebanon for two days where he met with political, security and military leaders. He delivered a strong message that forming a government is a matter of urgency as the country is on the verge of total financial collapse.
Borrell said European countries were considering imposing sanctions against Lebanese politicians, who he blamed for blocking the formation of a government.
He said the make-up of the new government must be agreed on by President Michel Aoun and PM-Designate Saad Hariri.
It must have the political support it needs to operate in such difficult conditions, Borrell said.
He said a new government could then reach a deal with the International Monetary Fund, which would then allow for EU assistance.
“A ship in the middle of a storm needs a captain,” Borrell said. “It needs officers of different departments of the ship. If not the ship will sink.
“You need a government with technical capacities and political support to implement the decisions, take decisions, and these decisions will not be easy to take.”
Lebanon’s economy has contracted by more than 20 per cent in 2020, and poverty has deepened with more than 55 per cent of the population living below the poverty line.
The national currency has tumbled, losing nearly 90 per cent of its value to the dollar.
The World Bank said Lebanon’s crisis, caused by decades of corruption and mismanagement, is one of the worst the world has seen in more than 150 years.