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European Parliament committee meets on Belarus sanctions

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European Parliament committee meets on Belarus sanctions

EP
Photo: European Union

The European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee will hold an extraordinary conference today to discuss recent developments in Belarus following the August 9 presidential election.

The meeting takes place after the EU declared the election results presented by Belarus’ Central Election Commission as fraudulent and sanctioned several Belarusian officials. Despite its strong response, the EU’s approach to Belarus is not unified. Some Eastern European countries—Poland, Latvia and particularly Lithuania—have encouraged engagement with Belarus while France and Germany have emphasised the importance of engaging with Russia due to its strong influence in the former Soviet state.

Belarus’s membership in the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organisation has kept Minsk under the heavy influence of Moscow, which uses the organisation’s clauses to justify its robust presence in the country. However, considering that the ongoing protests have no anti-Russia dimension—and some of President Alexander Lukashenko’s strongest political opponents advocate for stronger ties with Russia—direct Russian military intervention does not appear imminent.

Today’s meeting will likely focus on balancing the EU’s immediate goal of stopping the ongoing violence brought upon by the government crackdown with its long-term policy objective of strengthening democratic institutions and promoting stronger relations between the EU and Belarus.

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