EU’s parliament is threatening potential sanctions on Lebanon as the country is mired in an economic crisis.
Lebanon formed a new government last week after over a year of being under an interim government since August 2020, when Lebanese officials stepped down over the Beirut port blast.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrel, said because Lebanon formed a new government, the time for sanctions had passed. But on Thursday, the EU’s parliament passed a resolution that said sanctions were still on the table.
“The introduction of targeted sanctions for obstructing or undermining the democratic political process remains an option,” the resolution said. The parliament called on Lebanon’s leaders “to keep their promises and be a functional government.”
The idea is that the EU would use sanctions to pressure Lebanese officials for corruption. But history shows that even targeted sanctions against government officials hurt the country’s economy and lead to even more corruption. If officials lose access to overseas assets and markets, it’s more of a reason to exploit their position in the government for their own gain.
Since Lebanon’s currency began collapsing in 2019, and since the Beirut blast, the US has been adding new sanctions on Lebanon, including measures against the country’s central bank imposed by the Trump administration. The Biden administration has slapped sanctions on individuals who allegedly helped Hezbollah avoid US sanctions.