In an unprecedented firm stance, the Parliament of the European Union issued “a strict and very strong” resolution on Thursday “to put an end to rampant corruption and end foreign interference” in Lebanon.
Declaring Lebanon’s situation “a man-made catastrophe caused by a handful of men from the ruling political class,” the resolution, which brings dozens of decisions to help the Lebanese people, was voted by the vast majority of the EU parliament: 571 in favor, 71 against, and 39 absentations.
The EU parliament deems that the Lebanese population has been suffering “irreversible damage” caused by a handful of ruling politicians, including the depletion of human resources, which are crucial to the country’s recovery and democratic life.
With that resolution, “Europe sends a strong message: We don’t let down the Lebanese people,” tweeted Christophe Grudler, French politician and EU minister of parliament. “The recovery of public services and fighting corruption are a top priority.”
Here here are the most pertinent decisions that came in the EU resolution:
In face of the Lebanese parliament refusing by majority to cooperate with the judicial authorities over the Beirut Blast investigation, EU insists on the must to strengthen the ongoing investigation and ensure its independence, impartiality, and effectiveness;
It urges the full cooperation of all the EU Member States, without exception, with the new targeted sanctions against corrupt leaders and their affiliates in Lebanon, and to strengthen these sanctions;
It calls on EU Member States as well as their partners, like Switzerland and the United Kingdom, to cooperate in the fight against the alleged embezzlement of public money by a number of Lebanese officials;
It urges the new Lebanese government to relaunch negotiations with the IMF, and to urgently present an economic recovery plan that could save the crippled public services and social protection mechanisms and support the health and education sectors,
It calls for the creation within Lebanese ministries of an international humanitarian task force under the aegis of the United Nations, which mission will be to strengthen humanitarian and development aid and supervise the use of funds.
It urges continued international financial support for Lebanon’s basic necessities such as fuel, medicines and cereals, and for the preservation of fundamental rights to health and education;
It calls for an EU observation mission in Lebanon to start months before the parliamentary elections in May 2022, stressing that they must be held according to the Lebanese Constitution and cannot be allowed to get postponed by the political class;
It calls for international financial support for the Lebanese Army and the Internal Security Forces so they can play their critical role in preventing a further collapse of public institutions, in protecting aid humanitarian, and in the country’s stability;
It urges the Lebanese authorities to firmly oppose the practices of hushing up the accusations of complicity in the case of the explosion of ammonium nitrate in the port of Beirut;
It underlines Hezbollah’s special responsibility and other factions in the 2019 repression of the Lebanese popular movement and in Lebanon’s political and economic crisis;
It calls for a special tribunal of independent investigating judges to prosecute corruption cases directly linked to the Lebanese crisis, involving those in Lebanon or abroad;
This tribunal should have the authority to detain those involved and exclude them from the Lebanon’s political life, in accordance with international standards,
Noting that Lebanon has been carrying the highest proportion of Syrian refugees in the world, the EU underlines the duty of the international community to stand in solidarity with Lebanon in that regard and help it out.
Worth noting that the EU Resolution commended the Lebanese people for their high degree of resilience, organizing themselves, and “offering a solution other than the traditional political class plagued by sectarian divisions and corruption.”
It also commended in particular “the opposition coalition The Order Revolts, which brought together engineers who participated in popular protests against the Lebanese political system and won elections for the Lebanese Engineers Union in June 2021.”