EU sets potential standards for sanctions in Lebanon: Documents

File photo: Gebran Bassil, Lebanon’s largest Christian bloc leader, will speak at a parliamentary conference at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut, Lebanon on May 22, 2021. REUTERS / Mohamed Azakir

June 18, 2021

John Irish and Robin Emot

Paris / Brussels (Reuters) – According to diplomatic documents seen by Reuters, the European Union sanctions standards prepared for Lebanese politicians are corruption, hamper efforts to form governments and deal with finances. Is likely to be a mistake and a violation of human rights.

France-led EU is trying to increase pressure on confused politicians in Lebanon after the 11-month crisis in which Lebanon faced financial collapse, hyperinflation, power outages and power shortages fuel and food. ..

Brock, who technically discussed possible measures last month, has yet to decide which approach to take, but foreign policy director Josep Borrell arrived in Lebanon over the weekend and is foreign minister on Monday. Report to.

Many senior Lebanese politicians have homes, bank accounts and investments in the EU, where they send their children to college, so removing that access can help focus.

Paris says it has already taken steps to restrict entry to some Lebanese officials who see it as a blockage of decades of fighting state corruption and the debt crisis. But no one has publicly named.

The EU must first put in place a system of sanctions. This can lead to personal travel bans and asset freezes, but he may soon decide no one will be on the list.

This note, which also presents the advantages and disadvantages of such measures, focuses on four criteria. It begins by hampering successful government establishment, political processes or political transitions, and then hinders the implementation of urgent reforms needed to overcome political, economic and social crises. I go.

The financial mismanagement of individuals, groups and groups considered to be the cause of the mismanagement of the financial and banking sectors is a central criterion, as are the violations of human rights resulting from economic and social crises. is.

“The lack of political accountability of the Lebanese leadership can be argued to be at the heart of the massive collapse of the economy,” the note read, referring to possible human rights standards.

“It caused great distress and affected the human rights of the Lebanese people. ”

Such diplomatic documents are common in EU policy making and are not published, but are disseminated among EU diplomats and officials.

The memo also states that an “exit strategy” that offers a benchmark to establish whether the sanctions system has achieved its goal, and a benchmark to update or lift individual designations should also be implemented. ..

It’s still unclear how quickly the sanctions will be imposed, but as political divisions continue to deepen, the bloc could move forward before the summer recess period.

There is a division between 27 EU member states over the wisdom of EU sanctions, but the two main nations in the bloc, France and Germany, are approved, which could prove hugely important. .. The large groups of countries have not yet identified their approach.

Hungary has publicly condemned the EU’s efforts to pressure Lebanese politicians.

European officials told Reuters that Paris aimed to sanction powerful Christian politician Guébling Bashir, who is already under US sanctions.

(Written by John Irish, edited by Giles Elgood)

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