The diplomatic arm of the EU – theEAS (External Action Service) – provides that for an individual to be added to the sanctions list, it is necessary to present evidence: if deemed sufficient, the body responsible for foreign policy in Brussels could present the case to the European Council (the body composed of EU national leaders) which takes the final decision on whether to impose sanctions. Therefore, the road to sanctions and a “travel ban” is long and tortuous, even if the initiative had sufficient support among European legislators and heads of state. A European diplomatic official, who declined to be named, added that any future travel restrictions would likely require proof that Tucker Carlson was in some way linked to Moscow’s aggression against Kievsomething that “is absent or difficult to demonstrate”.
Verhofstadt’s position finds consensus. The former MEP Luis Garicano highlighted: “He is no longer a journalist, but a propagandist of the most hateful regime on European soil and the most dangerous for our peace and security”. The MEP Urmas Paet, former Foreign Minister of Estonia, remarked: “First of all, it should be remembered that Putin is not only the president of an aggressor country, but is wanted by the International Criminal Court and accused of genocide and war crimes. Carlson wants to give a platform to someone accused of crimes of genocide: this is wrong. If Putin has something to say, he must say it before the International Criminal Court. At the same time, Carlson is not a real journalist since he has clearly expressed his sympathy for the Russian regime and Putin and has constantly denigrated Ukraine, the victim of Russian aggression. So, for such propaganda in favor of a criminal regime, you can end up on the sanctions list. This mainly concerns the ban on travel to EU countries.”
The story will probably end with nothing done, but it is the principle that is frightening: carrying out an interview – albeit with Vladimir Putin – could land anyone on the Brussels blacklist. A distortion that should make us reflect, because it undermines the freedom and independence of professionals regardless of political orientation. Also because the same argument could apply to those who interviewed Lavrov, Peskov and Putin’s other collaborators.