Thursday

21st Feb 2019

EU ambassadors returning to Belarus

  • Minsk - EU diplomats say the ambassadors' return does not mean relations have improved (Photo: joquel)

EU ambassadors are to return en bloc to Belarus shortly after the Easter break, unless President Alexander Lukashenko does something drastic in the meantime.

EU diplomats say the decision was made behind closed doors in Brussels earlier this week.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

"Inshallah. I do not have my instructions yet, but I expect to get them on Monday (2 April)," one EU country's Belarus ambassador told this website.

The EU envoys left in February in an act of solidarity with the EU and Polish ambassadors in Minsk, who were kicked out by Lukashenko.

Quite a bit has happened in Belarus-EU relations in the past four weeks.

The EU imposed more sanctions, including on a close friend of Lukashenko (but they let one of his key firms off the hook). Lukashenko executed two young men he called "terrorists" but everyone else calls innocent. And he made a list of some 150 dissidents who are not allowed to leave the country.

"This [the EU envoys' return] will happen if the Belarusians behave correctly. Of course, this raises the question of what is 'correctly'? But normally, it should happen," another EU diplomat said.

Lukashenko on Wednesday stopped three dissidents - Alyaksandr Atroshchankau, Syarhei Kalyakin and Anatol Lyabedzka - from going to a symposium with EU commissioner Stefan Fuele in Brussels.

One Belarusian activist said the Fuele event was in result "full" of pro-Lukashenko "lobbyists."

It was not enough to stall the EU ambassadors' return. But if something more serious happens - for instance, if hunger-striker Syarhey Kavalenka dies - the ambassadors could stay away.

The EU diplomat quoted above said the ambassadors' return should not be seen as a political reward: "We are ready to impose more sanctions if the situation does not improve."

A third EU diplomat said: "It helps us to work more effectively in Belarus, to have better quality reporting, if the ambassadors are there."

News in Brief

  1. Tusk to back pro-EU candidates in Polish EP vote
  2. Germany rejects UK appeal on Saudi arms sales
  3. French senators decry 'dysfunction' on Macron security aide affair
  4. France to ban far-right groups over antisemitism
  5. Swedish climate activist to face Juncker in Brussels
  6. Swedish MEP calls for discussion on Orban in EPP
  7. EU countries back copyright reform
  8. Germany keeps EU commission in dark on Dieselgate

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersMilestone for Nordic-Baltic e-ID
  2. Counter BalanceEU bank urged to free itself from fossil fuels and take climate leadership
  3. Intercultural Dialogue PlatformRoundtable: Muslim Heresy and the Politics of Human Rights, Dr. Matthew J. Nelson
  4. Platform for Peace and JusticeTurkey suffering from the lack of the rule of law
  5. UNESDASoft Drinks Europe welcomes Tim Brett as its new president
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers take the lead in combatting climate change
  7. Counter BalanceEuropean Parliament takes incoherent steps on climate in future EU investments
  8. International Partnership For Human RightsKyrgyz authorities have to immediately release human rights defender Azimjon Askarov
  9. Nordic Council of MinistersSeminar on disability and user involvement
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersInternational appetite for Nordic food policies
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic Innovation House in Hong Kong
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region has chance to become world leader when it comes to start-ups

Latest News

  1. Microsoft warns EU on election hack threat
  2. Brexit talks to continue after May-Juncker meeting
  3. Trump and Kurz: not best friends, after all
  4. EU commission appeals Dieselgate ruling
  5. 'No burning crisis' on migrant arrivals, EU agency says
  6. 'No evidence' ECB bond-buying helped euro economy
  7. Juncker: Orban should leave Europe's centre-right
  8. College of Europe alumni ask rector to cut Saudi ties

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us