| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Newspaper: The European “Prolex” committee begins work Monday on a “Lebanon-specific sanctions framework”

AL-Hurra,  Nidaa L Watan

European countries intend to study and prepare proposals that may result in freezing assets and imposing travel bans on Lebanese politicians to push them to agree on a government to save their country from an economic collapse.

France led the effort to help Lebanon, but failed to get political teams to agree on a government, let alone initiate reforms that could allow an influx of foreign aid.

In this context, journalist Randa Taqi al-Din, in an article in the Lebanese newspaper Nidaa AL-Watan  , quoted a European source familiar with the agenda of the European Council of Ministers on Monday in Brussels, saying that the European Union will launch work “to create the appropriate framework for sanctions against Lebanese officials who Disrupt the formation of the government. ”

It explained that “there is no list of names and no determination of the penalties yet.”

Regarding the type of sanctions, the official said that they relate to “assets freezing and travel bans,” but he added, “The work is still in its infancy, as there is no specific regulation nor a specific type of European sanctions against Lebanese officials, and the matter today is only a metaphor for the start of work on the situation A legal system of penalties for Lebanese personalities, through legislative texts that would later enable names to be determined according to them.

It explained that the European group that is concerned with the sanctions framework  is called “Prolex” and on Monday, the start of work on a sanctions regime for Lebanon will be announced, and it is difficult to predict in advance the positions of the member states.

On April 8, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told MPs, “Concrete proposals are being prepared against the same people who have abandoned the public interest for their own personal interests.”

“If the politicians do not fulfill their responsibilities, we will not hesitate to carry out our responsibilities,” he added.

Two diplomats told Reuters that Le Drian’s team is studying how the European Union can prepare sanctions that include travel bans and asset freezes.

A senior EU diplomat in Brussels also told the agency that the minister also asked EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell during a meeting of EU foreign ministers on March 22 to work on preparing an options paper.

“The French seek to involve the Europeans on the Lebanese issue,” the diplomat said. “This is something they cannot accomplish on their own or, at least, their individual efforts have not succeeded so far.”

The idea of ​​sanctions is gaining some support in Lebanon, where citizens’ anger is rising as the standard of living collapses while the leaders are fighting.

Former Culture Minister Ghassan Salameh said after he participated in signing a column with 100 Lebanese civil society figures in the French newspaper Le Monde urging France to freeze assets, “The European Union sanctions will have a practical and dangerous weight on Lebanese politicians because they have an intensive presence in Europe