The European Parliament has begun calling for more sanctions and restrictive actions against Belarus and President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, according to an announcement published by the Parliament.
Parliament is calling for stricter sanctions that would include:
- The Belarusian individuals and entities that were involved in the interception and forced landing of RyanAir Flight 4978 and subsequent political arrests of Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega on 23 May 2021.
- Those who were complicit or took part in electoral fraud in the Belarusian presidential election in 2020.
- Violators of human rights in the country.
- Prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement employees who have taken part in the repression of the Belarusian people following the anti-election protests.
- Agents working on disinformation, media, and propaganda. This includes specifically Marat Markov, who interviewed Protasevich in favor of the regime on the state-run news channel ONT on 2 June.
- Key Belarusian industries, including the crude oil and oil products, potash, steel, and woodworking sectors.
- Any financial support to the regime must be strictly denied. This includes the denial of any new lines of credit requested by Belarusian banks, and investment in infrastructure or any economic undertaking must be brought to a halt.
- European financial institutions must be barred from acquiring bonds or any other financial instrument issued by the Belarusian government or public institutions.
In addition to the Parliament’s calls for the massive expansion to their sanctions package listed above, Parliament is also calling from Belarus being barred from international sports bodies and events.
This ban would include the Belarus being suspended from the European and world championships as well as the Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are also calling for the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) to remove broadcasting rights for the EURO 2020 football tournament from the Belarusian state television TVR and give them to the independent Belarusian channel Belsat TV free of charge.
Parliament adopted the resolution with 626 votes in favor, 16 not in favor, and 36 abstentions.
The interception and forced landing of an EU plane in order to make political arrests is widely viewed in Parliament and other European governing bodies to be an act of terrorism, which would call for strict action against the Lukashenko regime, according to MEPs.
“Belarusian authorities, upon the direct order of Alexander Lukashenko definitely went too far this time. Not only the Belarusian regime has systematically violated the freedom of press, the democratic values and human rights, but now it has also violated European security, demonstrating that the Belarusian regime has become a threat to international peace and security. Hijacking an airplane, a European airplane, is an act of terrorism and terrorism is a serious crime. The European Union must not tolerate such behavior,” said MEP Pedro Marques.