22 July 2021
Between 21 and 24 June, the EU approved new sanctions against Belarus. In line with suggestions from opposition leaders like Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, they target strategic sectors of the Belarusian economy. The effect on the country’s economy will be harsh, but in the current state of affairs, the current Belarusian political regime has what it takes to survive.
The New Sanctions
The new measures from the EU come as an answer to the deterioration of the human rights condition in Belarus following the August 2020 protests and the subsequent mass incarceration of journalists, opposition activists and protesters. The repression reached a tipping point with the hijacking of the Ryanair flight FR4978 and the arrest of Roman Protasevich. Furthermore, as the flight was connecting two EU capitals and only transited through Belarus, it has been widely perceived as a serious breach of trust and air safety that required a stern reaction from Brussels.
The latest sanctions, although not the first towards Minsk, are unprecedented in their scope. They consist of the strongest posture ever taken by Brussels in defence of democratic values in its neighbourhood. The new sanctions can be divided into two categories.