For the first time, entrepreneurs and companies that support the Belarusian President will be subject to sanctions. The EU foreign ministers have agreed on the targeted measures.
In the Belarussian conflict, the EU is increasing pressure on the dictator Mr. Alexander Lukashenko and extending its sanctions to the Belarusian economic sector. The EU foreign ministers agreed to extend the punitive measures to "institutions, entrepreneurs and companies", as the EU foreign affairs representative Josep Borrell said.
The situation in Belarussia continues to get worse. The oppression of the Lukashenko regime against the people has not stopped," stated Mr. Borrell. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that punitive measures against "the power clique surrounding Mr Lukashenko" were a suitable means of increasing the pressure. So far the authorities in Belarus have shown no willingness to enter into the necessary dialogue with the opposition.
Mass protests against Mr. Lukashenko have lasted in Belarus since the presidential election on August 9th. The opposition accuses the head of state, who has been in power for 26 years, of electoral fraud. The Belarusian forces regularly use violence against demonstrators.
The EU does not recognize Mr. Lukashenko's re-election. In two rounds it has already imposed sanctions against 55 alleged persons responsible for violence and electoral fraud, including Mr. Lukashenko. All those affected are prohibited from entering the European Union, and possible accounts in the EU have been frozen.
Companies have not yet been affected. EU diplomats had said in the run-up to the video conference of the foreign ministers that it was a matter of meeting organizations and companies that are connected to the leadership around Mr. Lukashenko and his family.
Which companies will be placed on the EU sanctions list has yet to be decided. European companies would then be prohibited from doing business with them, and possible balances with banks in the EU would be frozen.