Share article:
Share article:

De Croo calls to ban Belarus airline from landing in the EU

Credit: Alexander De Croo's cabinet.

Prime Minister Alexander De Croo called for EU heads of state and government to impose sanctions on Belarus ahead of an EU summit meeting in Brussels on Monday evening.

Belarus hijacked an airliner bound for Minsk on Sunday in order to arrest one of its passengers, young opposition journalist Roman Protassevitch, whose immediate release Belgium is also calling for.

De Croo suggested banning Belavia Belarusian Airlines from operating in the EU.

“We must consider sanctions, including banning Belavia from landing at EU airports,” the head of the Belgian government tweeted late on Sunday evening. Belavia is the national airline of Belarus and offers flights to most European capitals.

“The landing of Ryanair flight FR4978 forced by Belarus is unacceptable. The European Council must send a clear and unambiguous message. Roman Protassevich must be released immediately,” De Croo stated.

The European Council meeting will take place at 7:00 PM on Monday.

The Ryanair plane was on a flight from Greece to Lithuania when Belarus sent a fighter jet to intercept it.

The head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, announced on 10 May that the EU was preparing new sanctions against Belarus and hoped to adopt them “in the coming weeks” – sanctions for which the unanimity of member states is required.

The European Union decided at the end of February to extend until 28 February 2022 the sanctions already imposed on Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and members of his regime involved in the repression of the 9 August 2020 presidential election protest.

Eighty-eight individuals, including Lukashenko, along with seven entities were sanctioned with an EU travel ban and asset freeze.

The EU refused to recognise the results of the presidential election, which it deemed “rigged.” The historically large protests that followed were harshly repressed.

Despite European and American sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko and senior members of his government, the Belarusian president, backed by Moscow, has shown no serious signs of compromise in the face of the protest movement.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Mayor wants to close two Brussels bars where alleged sexual assaults took place
Ixelles' Mayor Christos Doulkeridis (Ecolo) said that he’d like to close the two bars that employed a man accused of raping multiple patrons, ...
‘Untenable’: Mayor says situation at Brussels North station is out of control
The situation at Brussels North Station is no longer tenable, Schaerbeek's mayor Cécile Jodogne (Défi) says. Drug dealing, homelessness, ...
Suicide second-leading cause of death among European youth
Suicide is the number two killer among young people living in Europe, a recent Unicef report on the state of their mental health found. The ...
‘Too little, too late’: Brussels mayors criticise CST implementation
After a two week delay, the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will become mandatory in several situations in Brussels from today (Friday). Some mayors blame a ...
Sciensano expert warns of rising Covid-19 cases this winter
The return of colder weather and the relaxing of health measures are giving rise to new Covid-19 contaminations and hospitalisations around Belgium, ...
Hospital food is making you sick, Belgian study shows
Eating hospital meals results in a measurable decline in health, according to a report from the Flemish television network VTM, which paints a ...
Belgium in Brief: Supply Issues
There are few things more jarring than walking into a store and finding that the shelves are empty, be that partially or otherwise. One thing ...
Stolen Magritte painting on display for first time in ten years
Surrealist painter René Magritte's work "Olympia", which made headlines across the world when it was stolen from a museum in Belgium in 2009, will be ...
Brussels airport pilots ’15 minute’ PCR test
Brussels Airport has announced that it will soon begin a trial of an ultra-fast PCR test able to detect Covid-19 in 15 minutes, a far faster ...
Over 1,000 demonstrators march in Brussels following sexual assault allegations
Around 1,300 people gathered in Ixelles on Thursday night to march against sexual violence, according to reporting from Bruzz. The march was ...
Covid Safe Ticket mandatory in Brussels, but no fines yet
The Brussels-Capital Region will expand the use of the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) from today (Friday), but it will take a few days before rule-breakers ...
Belgium hosts ‘farewell party’ for Merkel today
Angela Merkel will be in Belgium on Friday for an official visit as a symbolic "farewell" before leaving her position as German Chancellor after 16 ...