MEPs call for strong sanctions against Lukashenka regime, including suspending Belarus from SWIFT

In a draft resolution on the incident involving the recent grounding of a Ryanair plane by the Belarusian authorities, a number of MEPs calls on the Council of the EU to impose new individual and sectoral sanctions on the Lukashenka regime. The vote on the resolution is to take place on June, 10.

The draft resolution reads that the EU should blacklist those responsible for the interception and forced landing of the Ryanair flight as well as for the arrest of Belarusian journalist Raman Pratasevich and his partner Sofia Sapega. The authors underline the need for the EU to introduce its anticipated fourth package of sanctions ‘which should be more ambitious and targeted’.

EU bans Belarusian carriers from its airspace and airports

In the document, the MEPs urge the Council and the VP/HR Josep Borrell to consider further actions, such as banning EU financial institutions from holding Belarusian treasury bonds, sectoral sanctions, for example in the oil, potash, metal or wood sectors, or temporarily suspending Belarus from the SWIFT system; they also call for the introduction of effective safeguards against the direct or indirect sale of Belarusian electricity produced in the Astravets nuclear power plant to EU markets; they ask EU-registered companies, particularly Siemens AG, to stop collaborating with the Belarusian authorities through sharing technology and know-how.

According to the draft resolution, sectoral sanctions should be introduced and include a ban on imports of oil products, potash fertilisers, metal products, wood and wood products; the authors underscore the urgent need to sanction all relevant state-run enterprises helping to support the regime through foreign exchange revenue and highlights the importance of stepping up the fight against the business of cigarette smuggling from Belarus, which has become a very serious source of revenue for the Belarusian regime.

The draft resolution reiterates the importance of the independent Belarusian media and journalists and the important role they play in Belarusian society; in this regard, the authors reiterate their call for increased assistance for the independent channel Belsat TV. In addition, the MEPs urge the Union of UEFA to remove broadcasting rights for the EURO 2020 football tournament from Belarusian state television TVR and assign them to Belsat TV free of charge.

It should be recalled that resolutions adopted by the European Parliament are non-regulatory.

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