EU envoy: 5th sanctions package to affect Belarusian firms, persons involved in fostering irregular migration
The fifth package of sanctions against the Lukashenka regime will be primarily levelled against individuals and companies responsible for smuggling migrants from the Middle East and Africa to the European Union through the territory of Belarus, Deutsche Welle reports with reference to Dirk Schuebel, Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus.
At the same time, human rights is a top of mind priority among the Belarusian issues for Brussels, he noted. The envoy stressed that the EU’s calls to the Belarusian authorities remained unchanged: the release of political prisoners, putting a stop to repressions and holding a new presidential election.
“Unfortunately, all our appeals have gone unheard. Therefore, we are now preparing the fifth sanctions package which is likely to focus primarily on [irregular] migration, but on other issues as well,” Schuebel said.
The top EU official failed to provide more details, as the bloc always keeps the information about would-be sanctions secret until their officially being introduced. The adoption of the fifth package is expected to be in November.
Dirk Schuebel was also asked whether the European Union would expand the sanctions by imposing them on the entire import of potash fertilisers from Belarus.
“Only time will tell. It will also depend on the actions of the Belarusian authorities… If political prisoners are not released, if violence against civilians continues, all options are possible, including [sanctions against] certain fields,” he said.
The diplomats also confirmed that Brussels would continue discussions on possible sanctions against Belarus’ national air carrier Belavia.