“The people of Belarus have the right to decide on their future and freely elect their leader.”
The European Council assembles all leaders of the member states, and its viewpoints determine the priorities and political direction of the whole of the EU.
Over the past weeks, Belarus has seen a wave of protests, dubbed the ‘Anti-Cockroach Revolution’, following the presidential elections on 9 August which saw long-standing oligarch president Alexander Lukashenko re-elected. Protestors would like to see Lukashenko resign, and call for a recount of votes and new elections.
Though the government of Belarus has steadily denied torturing protestors, more and more evidence suggests the opposite.
On Friday, the EU held an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council meeting that reiterated it will defend human rights, freedom, democracy, and international law beyond its borders. Additional sanctions may be imposed on Belarus following Wednesday.
Belarus is not a member state of any EU institution but does uphold close political relations with the EU through the Eastern Partnership that also engages Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. Currently, the Eastern Partnership with Belarus is aimed at improving human rights and respect for international law.
In February, the EU extended several measures against Belarus, including the export of goods that can be used for oppression and an arms embargo.