Belarusian Arms Exporters Might Get Under EU Sanctions

05.01.2011 09:37
Архив Редакция

The European Union tends to renew sanctions against the Belarusian authorities, including President Alexander Lukashenko. Among other things, the EU might impose sanctions against the Belarusian arms exporters - "Beltechexport" and "Belvneshpromservis," income from which is said to go directly into the nomenklatura's private bank accounts.

Also, the EU authorities may impose a visa ban on Belarusian officials (including Alexander Lukashenko), expanding the list of restricted to travel abroad up to 100 people. » We have to follow the logic of our previous policies. The last time, when we no longer had political prisoners, we took positive steps. Now we have many more prisoners and those who took part in the actions which took place and those who collaborated with them will inevitably come back on the list,» Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in an interview with EUObserver.

Other moves under the EU consideration include: cutting all EU projects linked to Belarusian authorities; excluding Belarus from meetings under the EU’s Eastern Partnership policy; expanding assistance to Belarusian civil society, such as funding for the European Humanities University, a school for Belarusian exiles; urging EU countries to unilaterally drop visa fees for young Belarusians, students, teachers and NGO staff.

The EU Recognizes Election Results

At the same time the position of the EU Member States is not united. Thus, the Czech Republic, are keen to move quickly by calling a snap EU foreign ministers’ meeting next week to put the new list into play by January 12. But Germany and Sweden prefer to wait until a scheduled EU ministerial on 31 January. Some EU countries are wary of pushing Belarus into total isolation for fear of increasing the Kremlin’s influence in Minsk.

In addition, the source of a European diplomatic office noted that the Union is unlikely to go as far as non-recognition of the election result despite indications that Mr Lukashenko failed to get enough votes to win in the first round, however. As stressed by Carl Bildt, Mr Lukashenko’s post-election reaction was a psychological one linked to the «humiliation» of the first round defeat rather than a strategic decision.

«I don’t think he has very much influence or support in Moscow either. I think he has turned his back on everybody,» the Swedish minister, a senior figure in EU policy-making on post-Soviet countries, said. «He has turned his back definitively on the West.»