The sanctions that the European Union is preparing against Lebanese politicians seen as blocking the formation of a new government are expected in “the next three to four weeks,” media reports said, quoting a senior EU diplomat.
The reports said no specific names have been discussed and that Hungary has criticized the EU efforts against Lebanese politicians.
The European Union “expressed its dissatisfaction with the political stalemate Lebanon is witnessing, and preparations have begun to impose sanctions on political officials whom it considers responsible for the obstruction,” EU’s Foreign Affairs Chief Josep Borrell announced on Monday evening.
After a meeting of the foreign ministers of the bloc countries in Brussels, Borrell said: “We are working on adopting a policy of carrot and stick in Lebanon. All options are on the table in order to put pressure on the political class preventing a solution for the impasse.”
Borrel said he discussed the crisis with Lebanon’s caretaker Foreign Minister Charbel Wehbe last Sunday, expressing his regret that the situation in Lebanon had not improved.
A European diplomat told Al-Arabiya over the weekend that the European External Action Department distributed an options paper to member states, including incentives to activate the partnership with Lebanon, if it forms a reform government.
He said the paper “does not exclude the option of sanctions.We are moving forward step by step towards concrete measures.”
Last week, France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said ahead of his arrival in Beirut that French travel restrictions on Lebanese officials suspected of corruption or hindering the formation of the Cabinet were “just the start.”
France has been trying to force change on Lebanon’s ruling class, whose corruption and mismanagement has driven the tiny country into the ground and pushed it to the verge of bankruptcy.