The European Union intends to reduce cooperation with the unrecognized regime of Belarus and provide additional assistance to the protest movement
EU foreign ministers confirmed their readiness to impose sanctions against Belarusian officials, including President Alexander Lukashenko, the agency reported. «France Press» citing diplomatic sources. The decision is caused by the fact that the EU countries no longer consider Lukashenka a legitimate Belarusian leader.
«Foreign ministers, – the message says, – agreed on a common position on Lukashenko’s inclusion in the sanctions list, taking into account his inauguration after the elections, which were not free and fair».
According to the EU Council, Brussels, among other things, will introduce visa restrictions and freeze Lukashenka’s foreign assets, as well as reduce cooperation with the current government of Belarus and provide additional assistance to the protest movement in the country..
Formal statement of these additions in «black list» and their entry into force will take place later, when the EU foreign policy service prepares a new version of the list, which, in turn, comes into force after its approval by the Council of the European Union and publication in the Official Journal of the EU. Recall that personal sanctions against Lukashenka have already been approved by the authorities of Great Britain and the United States..
On Monday, the German authorities made an appeal to the EU countries to impose sanctions against Lukashenka. «We will discuss Belarus. We have to admit that the situation has not improved since the last meeting: the violence continues», — German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.
Earlier, the European Union approved a sanctions list, which included forty high-ranking Belarusian officials, including the Minister of Internal Affairs Karaev, his deputies and 15 employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs..
Dmitry Bolkunets: «Lukashenka has no support in society»
Belarusian political scientist Dmitry Bolkunets believes that the decision of the foreign ministers of the EU member states has once again shown that Alexander Lukashenko today «gripped». In his opinion, first of all, the fact that Lukashenko met with political prisoners in the KGB pre-trial detention center the day before was influenced by the ongoing protests in Belarus and the principled position of Europe, as well as, to some extent, the Russian position..
«The Kremlin reacted positively to Lukashenka’s line of conduct, welcomes his contacts with the opposition, as Dmitry Peskov said (press secretary of the Russian president), – he thinks. – This implies that he can make the necessary political transformations in the country, and the decisions that the European Union made about the possible introduction of personal sanctions against the nominal head of state are tangible and sensitive to the state of the regime. But it should be noted that these sanctions have so far been adopted at the level of foreign ministers of the EU countries».
Europe has already introduced such sanctions against Lukashenka, and this did not lead to significant changes in the regime’s policy, recalled Dmitry Bolkunets. In his opinion, economic sanctions would be more tangible: «If the EU imposed a trade embargo on campaigns close to Lukashenka and his entourage, this would play a significant role, – he suggested. – But the measures that the EU is taking make Lukashenka nervous, to meet with his enemies, and all this, of course, will end with his departure from the political scene. Because Europe, Moscow and Beijing hardly see Lukashenka as a politician with whom one can negotiate something. He maintains the status quo, controls power, but this power rests exclusively on clubs, and nothing more.».
Lukashenko has no support in society, the political scientist summed up.
Andriy Okara about Lukashenka: “ … His presidential powers expired from the moment «underground» inauguration»
The whole question is how the director of the Center for Eastern European Studies views the presidential powers in the EU, political scientist Andrei Okara believes. From his point of view, this is a rather complex legal conflict..
«Moreover, this has to be assessed in a dictatorial regime., – he specified. – But, judging by the fact that Lukashenka was nevertheless included in «black list», The EU most likely proceeds (perhaps more clarification is needed here) from the fact that its presidential powers, obtained in the 2015 (presidential) elections, have expired since «underground» inauguration».
Andriy Okara believes that the EU decision, if it does affect the mood of Lukashenka’s security officials, is not fundamentally. «They are more influenced by two factors: the presence of money in the budget for their maintenance and those guarantees from Moscow received for Lukashenka, which the security officials could interpret as a sign that Moscow is not surrendering to Lukashenka no matter what. But, of course, if the European Union switches to total sanctions against representatives of the security forces who “distinguished themselves” in beating people, and they, for example, will be prohibited from entering the EU, this can really affect the situation in the country», – concluded the political scientist.