23 October 2021, Saturday, 11:22
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Bad News for Lukashenka from Austria

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Bad News for Lukashenka from Austria
Alexander Schallenberg

The new chancellor supports tough sanctions.

Diplomat Alexander Schallenberg, who headed the country's foreign ministry in the government of the resigned Sebastian Kurz, will be the new chancellor of Austria. He will take the oath of office today.

Austria has fixed its image as a country that acts as a lobbyist for the regime. The dictator even visited Vienna in November 2019. He met with Chancellor Kurz. Austrian businesses have interests in the Belarusian market. In particular, the Austrian telecommunications company A1 and Raiffeisen Bank. Belarus received 90% of its financial borrowings from the EU territory from Austria.

The federal Kurz-led government opposed the sanctions and began blocking them when economic sanctions were imposed. Still, Minister of Foreign Affairs Alexander Schallenberg spoke in favour of the restrictive measures.

The sanctions were also supported by all Austrian MEPs except for the populist national-conservative FPÖ party. Its members abstained from voting.

With Schallenberg in office, a more principled Austrian stance on the Lukashenka regime is expected.