The measures should be the most severe.
This year, the European Union did not recognize Lukashenka as the president of Belarus, strongly condemned the security forces' violence at peaceful demonstrations, and will soon introduce another package of sanctions. How can the European Union help Belarusians? Belsat talked about this with the deputies of the European Parliament.
The toughest sanctions
The European Union is preparing to weaken Lukashenka's regime with economic measures and is preparing the third package of sanctions. It should be tougher than all the previous ones, promises the head of the European Parliament delegation for relations with Belarus Robert Biedron.
"This time, they will be aimed primarily at businesses that work with Lukashenka. This will be like a warning to the oligarchs from different countries dealing with this regime so that they think about whether it is worth continuing to maintain contact with him," the MEP emphasizes.
The European Union also plans to introduce personal sanctions for Belarusian officials and security officials. Aliaksandr Lukashenka should also be included in this list.
"Sorry, but now the situation is that he should be the first person on this list! After the events of August, this person should never enter the territory of the European Union," says Biedron.
It will be known soon what specific companies will fall under the third package of sanctions. To introduce them, you need to get a "green light" from the Foreign Ministers of all EU countries. Then it's a matter of a couple of hours. First of all, the European Union expects that these sanctions will bring Lukashenka's regime to paralysis.
"We cannot afford that the democratic countries of the European Union in any way support Lukashenka's actions," says Robert Biedron.
No dialogue with dictators
MEPs emphasize that now they are thinking over the sanctions package so that the Belarusian leadership would feel its effect.
Previously, EU sanctions had no consequences, primarily due to inconsistent European policies.
"With one hand, the European Union imposed sanctions against the Belarusian regime, and with the other, launched a neighborhood program with it. We see the consequences of such a policy today. Now the situation is different: the Belarusians themselves have different expectations from the European Union," says Robert Biedron.
His colleague in the delegation for relations with Belarus, Petras Aushtrevičius, agrees with European officials' inconsistency.
"I think the European Union has made many mistakes. They tried to talk to Lukashenka, but one cannot conduct a dialogue with dictators. They looked at Belarus as an interesting market with which one could have only economic relations. Nobody believed that serious changes could take place there. But this year, people themselves have demanded a change and a different future. And the European Union saw it," he says.
Sanctions are not the only instrument of influence of the European Union on the Belarusian government. Marie Arena, head of the Human Rights Committee, says the European Parliament has other ways. For example, the Moscow mechanism of the OSCE. This is a very serious test of human rights in countries, which has been applied eight times in history, and this will be the second time for Belarus.
Also, the European Parliament intends to seek punishment for all security officials responsible for the violence. If not nationally, then internationally.
"As long as the illusion of impunity exists, the violence can continue for a long time. But for me, as chairman of the human rights committee, it is important to work to ensure that the security forces are held accountable," says Marie Arena.
What does Belarus mean for the European Union now?
Never before has Belarus been in such a focus of attention in Europe and around the world as it is now, stresses Petras Austrevičius. According to him, the European Parliament defines the situation in Belarus as critically bad, as a process when state structures are fighting against their people in unacceptable ways.
"We must react to the protests in Belarus. We see how this wave continues, but we see what is happening on the part of government agencies. I did not notice any elements that would indicate that Lukashenka changed his position: he apologized to the people and started a national dialogue. On the contrary, the repression is only intensifying; the AMAP uses creative methods of persecuting demonstrators."
At the same time, Belarus is a very important country for the European Union, as it is located on its borders.
"The European Union supports democratic movements worldwide, for example, in Hong Kong or Algeria. But Belarus is especially important for us because it is so close to us," says Marie Arena.
It is important enough to immediately provide friendly support in case of victory.