Instead of looking for ways to punish Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, the EU should focus on how to improve long-term relations.
Protests in Belarus and Russia reveal the power of ordinary people. There are many steps the European Union can take to support citizens in Europe’s East.
Protests across Belarus sparked by the country’s deteriorating economic situation are being met with studied indifference from the EU.
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has become Europe’s ultimate deal maker, by trying to keep his options open with the EU while not letting Russia take him for granted.
Dialogue between Brussels and Minsk has intensified, but the ongoing rapprochement does not represent a sufficiently strategic or comprehensive policy.
To the EU’s detriment, its policy toward its Eastern neighbors is neither creating an arc of stability nor encouraging democracy.
If the EU wants a reliable partner in Belarus, the country must be transformed into a more democratic state. Only the Belarusian people can achieve this transformation.
Despite its release of political prisoners, don’t expect Belarus to cuddle up to the EU.
Belarus is attempting to normalize its relations with the West. The EU could help—but first, it must understand the country and its regime better.
The EU needs to realize that its neighborhood policy is a political not a technical tool, operating in a politicized environment where major conflicts take place.