Without reforms, Lebanon is on its own to tackle its impossible crises. That’s the message that the world has been stressing on Lebanese officials for months, and that’s why France has taken initiative to give Lebanon a push to take action.
When French President Emmanuel Macron visited blast-stricken Beirut earlier this month, he mentioned that he had a second visit scheduled on September 1st to check up on the Lebanese government’s progress — before its resignation.
With that visit 3 days away, Macron has created a roadmap outlining the needed reforms for the country to unlock the international aid and begin to escape the serious economic meltdown.
The 2-page document highlights the necessity of auditing the Banque du Liban, appointing an interim government capable of enacting urgent reforms, and holding early legislative elections within a year.
“The priority must go to the rapid formation of a government, to avoid a power vacuum which will leave Lebanon to sink further into crisis,” the paper reads.
In light of the recent blast, it also sheds light on the urgency of humanitarian aid, the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, as well as reconstruction efforts at this stage.
Furthermore, the document touches on Lebanon’s lack of progress in its talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and calls for an impartial investigation into the cause of the Beirut Port explosion.
Notably, it indicates a significant role for France in Lebanon’s affairs throughout the reform process — from rebuilding the Port of Beirut and supporting Beirut’s medical response all the way to helping organize early parliamentary elections.
While the “concept paper,” seen by Reuters, was said to have reached Beirut through the French Embassy recently, a source at the French Presidency said that no document has been given to any Lebanese parties.