Belarus-EU relations: maintaining the status quo?

Society members: Head Office "for a Democratic Belarus" Olga Stuzhinskaya from Brussels and registered in Lithuania director of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies Vitaly Silitski from Minsk.

Olga Stuzhinskaya

Vitaly Silitski

Valery Karbalevich

What is the meaning of the EU's decision?

Valery Karbalevich"The EU has decided to extend sanctions against 41 high-ranking Belarusian officials, including the head of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. And at the same time there is a moratorium on the use of sanctions against 36 people.

The EU decision taken is not the first time, it looks like the legal and political incident, a diplomatic freaks. Sanctions allegedly entered and immediately frozen. How can you explain this phenomenon, it is a decision that adds to the credibility of the EU? "

Olga Stuzhinskaya"Yesterday's statement by the EU Council is maintaining the status quo. This is a continuation of the EU policy towards Belarus, which began in 2008. It is the policy of dialogue, Belarus to join the "Eastern Partnership". In yesterday's statement referred to the visa issue, said the lack of progress in the field of human rights, the willingness to financial assistance in carrying out the Minsk Belarus certain conditions.

No surprises this decision was not. Some EU member states were in favor to extend the authorization for 12 months, and to introduce a moratorium on only 6 months. But this proposal was rejected. Future relations will depend on how the presidential election. "

Vitaly Silitski"First of all, I do not see any mishap. The decision to adequately assess the situation prevailing in Belarus. No progress with the issue of human rights is not here, but there is no specific recourse.

In reaching this decision, the EU came, first, from the fact that the Belarusian issue is not the first place on the agenda of the European Union. Special moral losses from the failure to make progress on human rights, Brussels has. This is not the criterion by which assesses the effectiveness of the institutions of the EU in the eyes of the audience, which is important for Brussels.

Second, when I talked with EU officials, they say that the dialogue with Belarus is going. The fact that Belarus is not in a position to take advantage of the dialogue, it is a problem Lukashenko. He can not maneuver in a situation of conflict with Russia. "

Whose problem?

Karbalevich"Now the question about whose problem it is. I think that not only in Belarus but also in Brussels. Do not you think that the EU has fallen into the trap, has become hostage to the adoption of Belarus in the "Eastern Partnership"? And now, Europe can not lift the sanctions or to use them. Cancel — to lose face, as the situation in Belarus does not change. Sanctions — means it is necessary to exclude Belarus from the "Eastern Partnership" with all the negative consequences for this ambitious project. "

Silitski"There is no trap I do not see. Because the "Eastern Partnership" — is now far from being ambitious project. He ran out of gas.

"Eastern Partnership" — is now far from being ambitious project. He ran out of gas ..

The speeches of senior EU officials this project is almost never mentioned. The European Union is not in a position to offer financial assistance to Eastern European countries. While Europe is experiencing an economic crisis, the issue will be secondary. Plus Poland change its foreign policy engagement. And the situation in Belarus requires action, for which the EU is no political will nor the means. "

Stuzhinskaya"Here at Brussels evident lack even the former level of interest in Belarus. And the elections are not raised interest. Maintaining the status quo suits Brussels. "

EU policy and the conflict between Belarus and Russia

Karbalevich"How has the EU's position on the conflict between Belarus and Russia? Europe or corrects its approach, looking at how the presses Moscow to Minsk? "

Stuzhinskaya"The current conflict is not affected in any way. And it's pushing me to think, is not going to give Brussels Moscow question of transformation of Belarus?

Russian voice a few years ago to influence the policy dialogue with Belarus, the adoption of the "Eastern Partnership".

Silitski"Indeed, to this conflict the EU reacted indifferently. First, energy conflicts between Russia and Belarus and Ukraine have led to the fact that the EU has started to take steps to ensure energy security. After 1-2 years in Europe will be a single energy system, built bridges that will in the event of danger to pump gas from another location. So now this fear, as before, to the energy wars anymore.

Secondly, in Europe, have become accustomed to the Belarusian-Russian conflict, have studied this rhetoric. Thirdly, Minsk does not appeal to the EU. Lukashenko said in an interview with Euronews summer that the conditions of the European Union are unacceptable to us. "

Presidential elections in Belarus and relations with the EU

Karbalevich"What are the prospects for Europe recognize the results of the presidential election?"

Stuzhinskaya"In a statement, the EU Council stated that" the presence of a clear and significant progress in the electoral process will be a new impetus to relations between Belarus and the EU. " The authorities are taking steps to ensure that such progress. On the website of the Embassy of Belarus in the EU there is material on the best conditions of the election campaign, changes in legislation, to invite foreign observers. And if the OSCE observers will find progress, it will serve as a stimulus for the development of relations between the EU and Belarus "

Karbalevich"Even today, understandable model of relations between Belarus and the EU in the post-election period. Brussels does not speak of free and democratic elections, but only on the progress. And the Belarusian authorities to ensure that progress during the election campaign. "

Silitski"So, the practice of elections used to be such that progress can be made, is not holding free elections. Now the EU to have an order for minimum rules of decency. This is a looser conditions for campaigning and imitation more or less free counting. And to hold elections by the usual scenario, quite early voting. "

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