Thursday

2nd Dec 2021

EU to announce 'harder, faster' Belarus sanctions

  • Lukashenko has also imposed counter-sanctions against EU officials (Photo: Natalia Rak/Flickr)

EU foreign ministers are to announce a third round of sanctions against Belarus on Thursday (19 November), amid lethal regime violence.

Some 20 EU states' diplomats spoke out in favour of "a strong message" by the foreign ministers at an internal meeting in Brussels earlier on Monday, and no one favoured a soft approach, one EU diplomat told EUobserver

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

There were "no fundamental changes since the last introduction of sanctions," a senior EU official said.

"We expect a green light [for further sanctions] on Thursday", another EU diplomat told this website.

"The case [of Roman Bondarenko] accelerated the decision," the diplomat added, referring to a 31-year old opposition activist, who was murdered by plain-clothes police last week.

The new sanctions were expected to target "at least" 20 individuals with visa-bans and asset-freezes, an EU source said.

"It will be a comprehensive package, including many categories of people, in order to send a clear political message," the source noted.

"There's no point in waiting because the situation is getting worse. We have to hit harder and faster," the source added, predicting that the new measures will enter into force by mid-December.

The EU has already blacklisted Belarus president Alexander Lukashenko, his son Viktor, and more than 40 of his security chiefs, following three and a half months of mass protests after rigged elections in August.

The reference to "many categories of people" in the latest measures comes after Belarus opposition leaders urged Europe to also target oligarchs who bankroll the regime.

Meanwhile, "the number of arrests of peaceful demonstrators is nearing 30,000," the EU embassy in Minsk said on Tuesday.

And there is "no indication that the authorities are investigating the thousands of reports of police brutality filed since mid-August or the killings of protesters," it added.

The violence has included rape of men and women in detention, torture, and beatings so severe that they have left victims permanently disabled.

And Lukashenko has stuffed his inner circle with "siloviki" - intelligence and military bosses - in a sign that he is not intending to back down, according to Artyom Shraibman, an expert at the Carnegie Moscow Centre, a think tank.

"By involving all the security services in the crackdown, Lukashenko is bonding them to him with a shared fear for their safety in the event that the protesters win," Shraibman said.

"When everyone is implicated, no one thinks of going over to the other side," he added.

Lukashenko has also imposed counter-sanctions against EU officials, in a sign that he is not interested in talking to Europe.

But "they [Belarusian authorities] are not publishing them anywhere and will be imposing them at their own discretion, upon [attempted] entry of EU citizens [to Belarus]," the senior EU official said.

EU blacklists Lukashenko and his eldest son

The EU has imposed a visa-ban and asset-freeze on president Alexander Lukashenko and his son, due to the "gravity of the situation" in Belarus after rigged elections in August.

Exclusive

New EU sanctions to hit Belarusian oligarchs

Regime-linked Belarusian tycoons are to face new sanctions, while EU-Belarus relations are being cut to a minimum, according to an internal EU paper, seen by EUobserver.

News in Brief

  1. Poland curtails media access to Belarus border
  2. Report: Germany's Scholz 'backs compulsory Covid jabs'
  3. Omicron 'present in Europe at least 10 days ago'
  4. German court finds ex-Islamic State member guilty of genocide
  5. Report: Shell is considering return to Libya
  6. Report: EU to reveal €300bn infrastructure plan
  7. Barbados becomes world's newest republic
  8. Far-right Zemmour will run for French presidency

Opinion

Why Russia politics threaten European security

Russia could expand hostile operations, such as poisonings, including beyond its borders, if it feels an "existential" threat and there is no European pushback.

Analysis

Ten years on from Tahrir: EU's massive missed opportunity

Investing in the Arab world, in a smart way, is also investing in the European Union's future itself. Let's hope that the disasters of the last decade help to shape the neighbourhood policy of the next 10 years.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNew report reveals bad environmental habits
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersImproving the integration of young refugees
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNATO Secretary General guest at the Session of the Nordic Council
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCan you love whoever you want in care homes?
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNineteen demands by Nordic young people to save biodiversity
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersSustainable public procurement is an effective way to achieve global goals

Latest News

  1. No obligation to defend Ukraine from Russia, Nato chief says
  2. EU agency: 'Omicron vaccine' approval to take 3-4 months
  3. Ombudsman launches probe into Commission tobacco lobbying
  4. Lead MEP wants 'mandatory relocation' in EU asylum law
  5. The EU's 'global gateway' - an answer to China, or a dead-end?
  6. Osman Kavala in a Turkish jail - taking injustice personally
  7. Frontex implicated 'to some extent' in violations, says officer
  8. Omicron shows need for pandemic global pact, WHO says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us