After consulting with foreign ministers of member states, Josep Borrell said that measures affecting the Belarusian economy would be “extremely painful” and would severely affect the Belarusian economy.
He said that the European Union is deeply concerned about the continued attacks by the Belarusian regime on human rights, fundamental freedoms and international law, and that Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States are also concerned.
He stressed that the European Union is committed to supporting the long-disenfranchised democratic aspirations of the people of Belarus and is ready to take decisive action in the future if Minsk ignores its international obligations.
“We call on the Belarusian regime to end its repression of its people. We are disappointed that the Minsk leadership chose not to fulfill its human rights obligations, moving away from respect for democratic principles and its relations with the international community,” he said.
He stressed that the European Union expects the Lukashenko regime to fully cooperate with the international investigation into the circumstances of the emergency landing of Ryanair on May 23 in Minsk. He expects the immediate release of all political prisoners, the implementation of all recommendations of the OSCE Independent Expert Mission (OSCE) Moscow, and the establishment of an inclusive and genuine political dialogue between their authorities and the Democratic Party. opposition and civil society representatives.
He also said that the council’s agenda includes discussion of an EU plan to make available a €3 billion economic package to Belarus, including support for democratization and major structural reforms, as well as green and digital developments. He said the planned package would help promote innovation, climate action, democracy, transparency and accountability. The EU diplomacy chief added that in addition to the economic package, the proposal also envisages the conclusion of a bilateral framework agreement to strengthen the long-term relations between the EU and democratic Belarus.
The European Union imposed sanctions on Belarus in early October, listing the names of those suspected of suppressing opposition protests in Belarus. The list currently includes 88 people and seven organizations, including President Alexander Lukashenko and his eldest son, Viktor Lukashenko, who was his father’s former national security advisor.
The EU also agreed in early June to ban Belarusian airlines from flying through EU airspace and accessing EU airports. This move came after Belarus forced Ryanair to land at Minsk airport on a passenger plane bound from Greece to Lithuania and only in Belarusian airspace, and then arrested Belarusian opposition activist Raman Pratasevic, who was traveling on the plane.