The situation in Belarus was discussed at the European Parliament plenary debate on June 8. During the event, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell explained why the targeted sanctions should be imposed on the Belarusian regime in the near future.
According to him, the European Union has repeatedly condemned repression and the massive human rights violations in Belarus, but the recent hijack of a EU airplane has ‘overstepped many red lines’ as well as the subsequent arrest of Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich and his partner Sofia Sapega. Their forced confessions on state television is another example of the flagrant violations of basic human rights that Lukashenka’s regime commit, the top EU diplomat stressed.
“There is no more massive protest in the streets. No, it does not take place anymore because this is not a return to normality but this is the result of systematic and brutal repression. The [Belarusian] legislation has also been gradually amended to shrink even more the limited space for any legal democratic activities of the society and to legally justify abuses and violations of human rights,” the statement reads.
As mandated by the European Council, and together with the Commission, the preparations for introducing targeted economic sanctions, Borrell noted. He said they would be adopted at the next Foreign Affairs Council and expressed hope that the measure would be affecting ‘critical sectors of the Belarusian economy’. However, the head of the EU diplomacy highlighted that the final decision belonged to the bloc’s member states.
“The European Council called for additional sanctions, and for the first time they decided to include targeted economic sanctions. Until now all our sanctions [vis-a-vis Belarus] are usually taken on a personal basis, affecting individuals and entities, but not the whole economy of the country. This time the Council requested to take targeted economic sanctions,” Borrell said.
In his opinion, the EU should target our sanctions in order to focus on Lukashenka and his cronies and to try to avoid ordinary citizens. At the same time, one do not make omelette without breaking eggs, Borrell warned.
“You have to take measures that will certainly affect the Belarusian economy, but at the same time to support the civil society, independent media, rule of law, in order to push for free and fair elections. We know that we are very far away from that,” he stressed.
The European Union is fully aware of the Russian support’s being very important for Lukashenka; it will be taken into consideration by the European Union Council when they will discuss, in the next meeting, about the relationship with Russia, Josep Borrell promised. The EU officials are doing everything they can to fight this dictatorship and to support the people who are suffering from it, he stated.