Tuesday

24th Jan 2017

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.

Trump pledges US-first foreign policy

Economic protectionism and war on Islamist terrorism will form the heart of US foreign policy, Trump has said. He did not rubbish Nato, but indicated interest in a new Russia alliance.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament committee backs EU-Canada deal
  2. UK MPs must vote on Brexit trigger, court rules
  3. Greek island mayors plead for the transfer of migrants
  4. Tzipi Livni cancels Brussels trip amid war crimes probe
  5. Romania's president plans referendum on prisoner pardons
  6. Sweden to host EU social summit
  7. US Congress may Trump-proof Russia sanctions
  8. Fury over UK 'cover up' of failed missile test

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Dialogue PlatformThe Influence of Turkish Politics in Europe After the Coup Attempt
  2. World VisionEU Urged to do Better Ahead of Helsinki Conference on Syria
  3. Caritas EuropaEU States to Join Pope Francis’s Appeal to Care for Migrant Children
  4. UNICEFNumber of Unaccompanied Children Arriving by sea to Italy Doubles in 2016
  5. Nordic Council of Ministers"Nordic Matters" Help Forge Closer Bonds Between the UK and the Nordic Region
  6. Computers, Privacy & Data ProtectionThe age of Intelligent Machines: join the Conference on 25-27 January 2017
  7. Martens CentreNo Better way to Lift Your Monday Blues Than to Gloss Over our Political Cartoons
  8. Dialogue PlatformThe Gulen Movement: An Islamic Response to Terror as a Global Challenge
  9. European Free AllianceMinority Rights and Autonomy are a European Normality
  10. Swedish EnterprisesHow to Create EU Competitiveness Post-Brexit? Seminar on January 24th
  11. European Jewish CongressSchulz to be Awarded the European Medal for Tolerance for his Stand Against Populism
  12. Nordic Council of Ministers"Adventures in Moominland" Kick Off Nordic Matters Festival in London