The EU has introduced a new asset freeze regime against Lebanon, but without designating any persons under the new regime as of yet. On 30 July 2021, the EU adopted legislative acts establishing a new sanctions framework against Lebanon to address EU concerns about a further deterioration of democracy and the rule of law, and of the economic, social and humanitarian situation in the country. The framework allows the EU to respond by targeting individuals, entities and bodies held responsible for the situation, including by undermining democracy or the rule of law in Lebanon, with an asset freeze and a travel ban.
In December 2020, the EU Council noted its “increasing concern with respect to the grave financial, economic, social and political crisis” in Lebanon, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the explosion in the port of Beirut in August 2020.1 In particular, the Council stressed the urgent need for political reforms by the Lebanese authorities and called on all Lebanese stakeholders and political forces to support the urgent formation of “a mission-driven, credible and accountable government in Lebanon, able to implement the necessary reforms“.
Despite these and more recent EU calls for urgent Lebanese reforms,2 the EU has noted that no progress has been made, seemingly due to a political stalemate in Lebanon. In press statements following the Foreign Affairs Council of 12 July 2021, High Representative Josep Borrell announced that the EU would therefore be launching a new sanctions regime against Lebanon