Belarus: EU to impose additional sanctions

The European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell announced via his Twitter micro blog that the bloc does not accept the announced results of the elections in Belarus as falsified.

EU doesn’t accept election results. Work begins on sanctioning those responsible for violence & falsification”. The announcement concluded the informal EU Foreign ministers Council, taking place on Friday 14 via teleconference.

The Ministers will also work out a proposal to Belarus authorities to facilitate the current crisis resolution, supporting dialogue between the incumbent authorities, opposition and broader society.

The announcement has been a clear warning that there is only one way forward for the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko – respect the fundamental rights of Belarus people, and their aspiration for democratic change.

The Ministers expected the immediate release of all unlawfully detained prisoners, and thorough and transparent investigation of all reported abuses.

The Ministers agreed on the need of sanctions against all those responsible for “violence, repression and falsification of election results”. The Ministers has started work for additional sanctions against individuals immediately.

Since the EU lifted most of the restrictive measures against Belarus in February 2016, the EU has supported a number of key measures to help further develop the country’s economy:

Cooperation with international financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD); a number of largescale infrastructure projects are under consideration for funding.
Enhanced preparations for World Trade Organisation (WTO) accession – the removal of textile quotas for exports.

The Dialogue on Economic and Financial issues resumed in April 2018 in order to exchange views on the economic and financial situation and outlook in Belarus.
Under the EU4Business initiative, which supports private sector development, 900 enterprises have so far benefitted from loans, trainings and advice; 3,900 new jobs were created, helping Small & Medium Enterprises to grow and increase trade opportunities.
The first Twinning project in Belarus has started between the National Bank of Belarus and the Bundesbank, together with the Central Banks of Poland and Lithuania.

The annual EU-Belarus Human Rights Dialogue provides a forum for discussion on the human rights situation in Belarus and joint steps to be taken in this area. The EU remains committed to cooperate with Belarus to enhance democratic governance and develop institutions responsive to citizens’ needs.

Taking into account remaining important challenges in this area, the EU regularly raises issues related to freedom of assembly and association, freedom of speech and media as well as fundamental labour rights, with the Belarusian authorities at all levels. The European Union has raised its strong opposition to capital punishment, which is still in use in Belarus, and has called for a moratorium on the death penalty.

In October 2016, Belarus adopted the National Human Rights Action Plan which underpins the process of domestic reforms and legislative amendments in respect of human rights and fundamental values. The EU is supporting its implementation, including for continued dialogue between the Government and civil society.

The EU has broad spectrum of instruments, supporting Belarus by funding through the European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) for the period 2014-2020. It replaces the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) of 2007-2013. Other funding sources are the thematic programmes, focused on human rights and civil society.

Image: social media

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