The EU Council adopted a framework for imposing sanctions related to the situation in Lebanon. Anyone listed under the new framework will be subject to travel bans and assets freezes. EU persons and entities will also be forbidden from making funds available to those listed. No names have yet been added to the list under the framework. Potential targets will include those who are determined to be responsible for undermining democracy or the rule of law in Lebanon through any of the following actions:
- obstructing or undermining the democratic political process by persistently hampering the formation of a government or by obstructing or seriously undermining the holding of elections;
- obstructing or undermining the implementation of plans approved by Lebanese authorities and supported by relevant international actors, including the EU, to improve accountability and good governance in the public sector or the implementation of critical economic reforms, including in the banking and financial sectors and including the adoption of transparent and non-discriminatory legislation on the export of capital;
- serious financial misconduct, concerning public funds, insofar as the acts concerned are covered by the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, and the unauthorised export of capital.
The US Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has maintained a Lebanon sanctions program since 1 August 2007, when the President issued Executive Order (E.O.) 13441, “Blocking Property of Persons Undermining the Sovereignty of Lebanon or Its Democratic Processes and Institutions.” Lebanese persons and entities are also designated under US counter-terrorism sanctions programmes. At present, there are minimal entries under the Lebanon regime itself, but US officials have stated they intend to cooperate with the EU in addressing the crisis.
Current UK sanctions related to Lebanon are aimed to implement UN obligations; it's not yet clear whether the UK will join the EU sanctions.
The EU remains committed to helping Lebanon and its people to overcome the present challenges and is ready to use the different instruments at its disposal to do so. It is, however, of the utmost importance that the Lebanese leadership put aside their differences and work together to form a government and enact the measures required to steer the country towards a sustainable recovery. The stability and prosperity of Lebanon are of crucial importance for the whole region and for Europe.