The European Union (EU) announced on Friday that it had approved a legal framework for a sanctions mechanism targeting Lebanese individuals and entities. This comes following a year-long crisis that left Lebanon reeling from financial collapse, massive inflation and food and fuel shortages.
The EU added in a statement that the framework provides the possibility of imposing sanctions on those responsible for undermining democracy and the rule of law in Lebanon.
The EU (most notably France) is seeking to intensify pressure on feuding Lebanese politicians. The endeavour is part of broader international efforts to force them to form a stable government capable of implementing necessary reforms to end political chaos and ongoing economic deterioration after the Port of Beirut explosion.
The EU indicated this month that the sanctions would not be applied immediately, explaining: "It is very important that the Lebanese leaders put aside their differences and work together to form a government and impose necessary measures to push the country towards a sustainable recovery."
The sanctions mechanism may include travel bans and asset freezing, but the EU may not yet decide to blacklist anyone. Diplomats said the individuals and entities targeted by these sanctions were not likely to be determined before the end of the summer.
The statement indicated that those affiliated with the EU are prohibited from providing funds to those included on the blacklist.
Standards under which sanctions will be imposed will include corruption, disruption of government formation efforts, financial offences and human rights abuses.