Wednesday

1st Dec 2021

MEPs call on EU states to list Hezbollah as terrorist group

  • Hezbollah emerged as a militia in response to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon (Photo: EUobserver)

A group of MEPs from across the political spectrum have launched a campaign calling on EU governments to list Hezbollah, the Lebanon-based Shia militant group, as a terrorist organisation.

Hezbollah - or "Party of God" - emerged as a militia in response to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Its leaders were inspired by Iranian supreme spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini, while its forces were trained and organised by a contingent of Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Currently, it plays a significant role in Lebanon's politics, controlling 11 out of 30 seats in the government and wielding veto power in the parliament.

According to Portuguese Socialist Paulo Casaca, it is Hezbollah's political influence that makes it a dangerous organisation. "If it was only a number of lunatics, it would not be as dangerous," the MEP told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday (16 September) unveiling an initiative to have the Lebanese group proscribed.

German Liberal Alexander Alvaro also argued in favour of Hezbollah being included on the EU's list of terrorist groups, which involves a freeze on any Europe-held financial assets as well as political stigma.

He said "900 Hezbollah sleepers are stationed within Germany" and that the "situation is probably not very different elsewhere," underlining that a terrorist group label would enable the "drying out of its activities in Europe."

Currently, only four countries consider Hezbollah a terrorist organisation - Israel, the United States, Canada and the Netherlands. Australia and the UK list only its military wing as a terrorist group.

"We have to gather enough political critical mass" in order to put pressure on all EU governments that are reluctant to change their position towards the Lebanese Shia group, Czech conservative Jana Hybaskova said.

So far, 44 MEPs have signed a written declaration on the issue. "We hope to get as many [signatures] as possible and we would like this to be a policy of the European Parliament," Mr Casaca said.

He also expressed "dismay" over the fact that his own political group, the Socialists, do not support his tough line against Hezbollah.

Frontex chief: 'about time' MEPs probe his agency

Some 14 MEPs have created a group to probe allegations of rights abuse by the EU's border agency Frontex. Its head, Fabrice Leggeri, welcomed its creation and said it "is about time".

Romania denies forcing migrant-boat back to Turkish waters

Romania's ministry of internal affairs wrote to Frontex claiming it did not engage in any illegal pushbacks of people on rubber boats into Turkish territorial waters. The country says it followed EU engagement rules and Greek orders.

LGBTI fears over new Polish member at EU institution

A letter sent to the European Economic and Social Committee by a group of cross-party MEPs fighting for LGBTi rights expresses fears that a recently-appointed Polish member may try to undermine those rights.

EU condemns Slovenian PM's harassment of journalist

Slovenia's populist prime minister Janez Janša attempted to discredit a Brussels reporter after she published a critical article about the state of media freedoms in the country. The European Commission condemned the PM's language - but refrained from naming him.

News in Brief

  1. Poland curtails media access to Belarus border
  2. Report: Germany's Scholz 'backs compulsory Covid jabs'
  3. Omicron 'present in Europe at least 10 days ago'
  4. German court finds ex-Islamic State member guilty of genocide
  5. Report: Shell is considering return to Libya
  6. Report: EU to reveal €300bn infrastructure plan
  7. Barbados becomes world's newest republic
  8. Far-right Zemmour will run for French presidency

Feature

Covid-hit homeless find Xmas relief at Brussels food centre

The Kamiano food distribution centre in Brussels is expecting 20 people every half hour on Christmas Day. For many, Kamiano is also more than that - a support system for those made homeless or impoverished.

Top court finds Hungary and Poland broke EU rules

EU tribunal said Hungary's legislation made it "virtually impossible" to make an asylum application. Restricting access to international protection procedure is a violation of EU rules.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. No obligation to defend Ukraine from Russia, Nato chief says
  2. EU agency: 'Omicron vaccine' approval to take 3-4 months
  3. Ombudsman launches probe into Commission tobacco lobbying
  4. Lead MEP wants 'mandatory relocation' in EU asylum law
  5. The EU's 'global gateway' - an answer to China, or a dead-end?
  6. Osman Kavala in a Turkish jail - taking injustice personally
  7. Frontex implicated 'to some extent' in violations, says officer
  8. Omicron shows need for pandemic global pact, WHO says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us