In a resolution on Lebanon adopted earlier this week, the European Parliament made it clear that Hezbollah is responsible for the country’s devastating political and economic crisis and the 2019 repression of the popular movement.
The resolution, which was adopted with overwhelming and multi-party support, underscores the need for full Lebanese sovereignty and deplores harmful external interference.
The text reads: “Whereas Hezbollah still controls key Lebanese government ministries; whereas Hezbollah has been listed as a terrorist organization by several EU Member States; whereas Hezbollah has repeatedly shown its strong ideological allegiance to Iran, which destabilizes the Lebanese government and undermines its much needed cohesion.
The resolution further threatens “the introduction of targeted sanctions for obstructing or undermining the democratic political process”.
The text was adopted with 575 votes in favor, 71 votes against and 39 abstentions.
The resolution said the European Union should always consider imposing sanctions on Lebanese politicians who block the progress of the new government.
Taking note of the formation of a Lebanese government two weeks ago after more than a year of political stalemate, the European Parliament, meeting in Strasbourg, said EU governments cannot ease the pressure yet over the country.
Despite the fact that EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has told the European Parliament that the time for sanctions has passed due to the formation of a government. The EU welcomed the announcement of the new government headed by Prime Minister Najib Mikati.
The European Parliament “strongly urges the Lebanese leaders to keep their promises and to be a functioning government,” the resolution reads.
The EU agreed in June to prepare travel bans and asset freezes for Lebanese politicians accused of corruption and obstructing efforts to form a government, financial mismanagement and human rights violations.
EU must take a stand against Hezbollah, say ECR MEPs
The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), a center-right political group in the European Parliament, warmly welcomed the adoption of the resolution. “The ECR Group supports the European Parliament’s view that Hezbollah is responsible for the devastating political and economic crisis in Lebanon and the 2019 repression of the popular movement.”
“For the first time, MEPs have recognized the strong ideological allegiance of the organization with Iran, which is acting to destabilize Lebanon,” he noted.
For the group, Swedish MEP Charlie Weimers said the resolution “ challenges left-wing liberal groups to come to terms with Hezbollah’s true terrorist nature and to eliminate the invented distinction between the so-called military wings and organization policies. ”
“This is a distinction strongly denied by the deputy head of Hezbollah, Naim Qassem, himself who emphasizes that Hezbollah has a single leadership and that there is no distinction between the wings,” Weimers added.
“This must be the European Parliament’s strongest condemnation to date against Iran and its terrorist proxy Hezbollah for undermining the stability of Lebanon,” said Daniel Schwemmenthal, director of the AJC Transatlantic Institute.
“European lawmakers have thus sent a clear warning to the Tehran regime and their Shiite terrorist group that it is no longer business as usual. The Lebanese people deserve freedom, democracy and prosperity, none of which will be possible as long as Hezbollah and Iran can continue to drag the country into corruption, crime and war, ”he added.