The Council of the European Union Friday announced that it had adopted a framework for the imposition of sanctions against individuals and entities it determines have undermined the rule of law and democracy in Lebanon.
In December of last year, the Council noted the “grave financial, economic, social and political crisis” in Lebanon and urged the country to implement needed reforms to restore the international community’s confidence. Lebanon has been without a full government since prime minister Hassan Diab resigned last August following days of protest over a massive explosion in Beirut’s port that caused widespread damage throughout the city. The situation in the country has only become more tenuous since then, with accusations of money laundering and corruption lodged with the National Financial Prosecutor’s office in France in early May this year.
In light of the continuing deterioration in Lebanon, the Council announced that it is ready to use all available policy instruments to attempt to remedy the situation. Calling the “stability and prosperity of Lebanon” as being of “crucial importance” to both the Middle East and to Europe, the Council urged the fractured Lebanese government to set aside differences and work to “steer the country towards a sustainable recovery.” While no names have been listed yet, those who are subject to sanction will be banned from travel to the European Union and have their assets frozen, and European persons and entities will be forbidden from making funds available to listed entities.
There is no word on how long it might take the 27 member states of the EU to agree on a list of names. All states must vote unanimously in order to impose sanctions.