Tuesday

19th Feb 2019

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).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

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.

EU to discuss blacklisting Hezbollah

EU foreign affairs ministers in Brussels on Monday are set to discuss blacklisting the military wing of militant Lebanese group Hezbollah.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. Trump right for once: Europe should take back foreign fighters
  2. EU should clarify rules for plant burgers and lab meat
  3. Italian populists could be second biggest force in EU parliament
  4. Merkel defends Russia ties, ridicules Trump on cars
  5. British MPs condemn Facebook CEO's misrule
  6. EU's chance to step up on Hungary and Poland
  7. ESA pushback against new EU space agency plan
  8. Sluggish procedure against Hungary back on table

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us