Sunday

28th Aug 2016

EU countries block blacklisting of Hezbollah

  • Hezbollah flag at anti-Israel protest in Paris (Photo: looking4poetry)

A small group of EU countries has again blocked Britain's bid to blacklist Lebanese group Hezbollah.

Diplomatic sources said Austria and the Czech republic led opposition at a meeting of EU countries' counter-terrorism specialists in Brussels on Wednesday (19 June).

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Ireland, Italy and Poland also voiced concerns.

Objections centre around shaky evidence that Hezbollah bombed a bus containing Israeli tourists in Bulgaria last year.

The Bulgarian foreign ministry told EUobserver on Wednesday its investigation is incomplete.

Its spokesman, Dimitar Yaprakov, said Sofia is still waiting for "replies to the current judicial requests in connection with the Bulgarian investigation from our foreign partners."

Some of the naysayers are worried the move might destabilise Lebanon, where Hezbollah is a popular political party.

The details of the British proposal - to blacklist Hezbollah's military wing, but not its political branch - are also posing problems.

"The Czech position is that it's impossible to separate the military arm [of Hezbollah] from the civilian one," an EU source said.

The talks are set to continue.

But Britain plans to kick them up a level, leaving aside the security specialists and turning to senior EU diplomats or foreign ministers instead.

EU foreign policy heavyweights France, Germany and the Netherlands back London.

Another EU diplomat said Wednesday's talks saw more countries fall into the pro-sanctions camp.

"More member states came round to the view that Hezbollah needs to be listed … This was only the second meeting on the subject and there is a clear momentum toward listing the group. But now it will have to be discussed at a more senior level," the contact said.

If the UK gets its way, pro-Hezbollah sympathisers in Europe will find it more difficult to donate money.

It will also stigmatise Israel's fiercest enemy in the Middle East.

"We have been saying for a long time that the EU needs to take this, maybe bold, but necessary step," Yoel Mester, the spokesman for the Israeli mission to the EU, said.

Slovakia's Fico goes to Russia

The Slovak prime minister, whose country currently chairs the EU council, will meet the Russian leader ahead of upcoming EU talks on Russia policy.

News in Brief

  1. Hungary plans to reinforce border fence against migrants
  2. France's highest court suspends burkini ban
  3. Greeks paid €1bn more in taxes in June
  4. Greek minister denounces EU letter on former statistics chief
  5. Turks seeking asylum in Greece may cause diplomatic row
  6. Merkel becomes digital resident of Estonia
  7. Report: VW will compensate US dealers with €1bln
  8. EU mulls making Google pay news media for content

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleBrussels - home of beer, fries, chocolate and Google’s Public Policy Team - follow @GoogleBrussels
  2. HuaweiSeeds for the Future Programme to Bring Students from 50 countries to China for Much-Needed ICT Training
  3. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  4. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  5. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  6. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  7. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  8. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  9. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  10. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  11. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  12. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey