Monday, 2 Aug 2021 - 24 of Av, 5781

EU prepares sanctions regime against Lebanese politicians responsible for the country’s crisis

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The European Union is preparing a regime of sanctions against Lebanese politicians responsible for the deep political and economic crisis in the country.

‘’It seems to me that Europeans are more concerned with the search for a political solution to the country than the Lebanese politicians themselves,’’ said EU’s foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell on Monday as he addressed reporters following a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council.

Borrell, who visited Beirut in June, insisted that ‘’the political stalemate persists, the economy is imploding and the suffering of the people of Lebanon is continuously growing.’’ Lebanon, he said, needs a government in order to avoid a crackdown of the country and which would be able to implement reform the country needs.

Lebanon’s currency has lost 90% of its value. More than half the population are living in poverty while grappling with raging inflation, power blackouts and shortages of fuel and food.

The crisis has been aggravated by political deadlock, with Saad Hariri at loggerheads with President Michel Aoun for months over forming a new government.

At Monday’s meeting, the EU Foreign Ministers reached a political understanding that a sanctions regime against those who are responsible for the situation should be established.  ‘’In light of the preparatory technical work, the legal acts will be worked on and a decision will be adopted by the Council in order to create this new sanctions regime without delay,’’ Borrell said, adding that this process could be completed by the end of this month.

While EU member states were initially divided over the wisdom of sanctions, France and Germany, the two main members, pressured to reach a sanctions regime.

“Lebanon has been in self-destruct mode for several months,” French Foreign Minister Yves Le Drian said. “Now there is a major emergency situation for a population that is in distress.”


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