Wednesday

28th Sep 2022

Poland unilaterally imposes Belarus sanctions

  • The Polish move is likely to trigger a Belarusian response (Photo: johnnyalive)

Poland has unilaterally slapped visa sanctions on Belarus officials involved in last month's election crackdown, declining to wait for an EU-level decision due later this month.

A Polish diplomat told EUobserver that the visa ban, which covers Polish territory only, has been put in place following an earlier warning by the Polish foreign ministry on 30 December.

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

He declined to confirm whether or not Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko is himself persona non grata. But he said the list numbers "many more" people than the five Belarusian officials on the EU's active visa ban register and the 36 officials on a temporarily-suspended one.

EUobserver understands that Mr Lukashenko is on Warsaw's list and that it numbers "over 100" names.

The Polish move is likely to trigger a Belarusian response.

The country's foreign minister, Sergei Martynov, last week told press in Brussels: "If this decision is actually taken, it would be an unfortunate one and Poland should be ready that we would have to, we must, we will be compelled, we will be forced to reciprocate."

Other pro-visa-ban EU countries, such as Lithuania, Germany, Sweden and the UK, have opted to wait until the union comes up with a joint decision on the issue at a foreign ministers' meeting scheduled for 31 January in Brussels.

"We always prefer to stand by a single EU policy. We are quite successful in moving to such an approach anyway. In the meetings that we have, we hear more or less similar voices," a diplomat from one of the pro-sanctions countries said on the likelihood of a new EU visa ban.

A senior EU diplomat stationed in Minsk told this website that the union is concerned about the state of health of two political detainees: Vladimir Neklyayev, who suffered a severe beating by masked men last month, and hunger striker Mikalai Statkievich.

The Belarusian authorities have declined an EU request to visit detainees and have also denied prisoners access to lawyers and to personal mail, in contravention of international norms.

Belarus says police attacked the crowd on 19 December after it tried to storm a government building in an attempted coup d'etat orchestrated by Germany and Poland.

The EU diplomatic source dismissed this is as propaganda.

"Many witnesses are saying it was agent provocateurs [who tried to raid the government building] and that others joined in ... this is the way we see it," the contact said.

"We don't take it seriously [Belarus' comments on the EU-sponsored coup], except for the fact that it is written like this, that it is a serious attempt at disinformation."

Column

EU should admonish less, and listen more, to the Global South

Whether on Russia, or gas, or climate change, or food security, the EU's constant finger-wagging and moralising is becoming unbearably repetitive and self-defeating. Most countries in the Global South view it as eurocentric and neo-colonial.

News in Brief

  1. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  2. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  3. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  4. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  5. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  6. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap
  7. EU: Nord Stream explosions 'result of a deliberate act'
  8. EU okays €21bn Covid-recovery funding for Italy amid concern

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Netherlands tops EU social safety net for the poor
  2. New EU rules to make companies liable for their AI failures
  3. Can King Charles III reset the broken Brexit relationship?
  4. Meloni's navy-blockade plan to stop Libya migrants 'unlikely'
  5. Underwater explosions were detected near Nord Stream leaks
  6. EU countries stall new pesticide rules, blame Ukraine war
  7. The UN's Uyghur report must push EU into China sanctions
  8. Russian diamonds ban 'would cost 10,000 jobs', Antwerp claims

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us