EU Sanctions Belarus After Ryanair Flight Hijacking
According to multiple reports, the EU’s response to the hijacked Ryanair flight will be a series of economic sanctions towards Belarusian President Lukashenko´s regime.
The new deal made by the EU contains a serious number of economic punishments towards Belarus, including restricting the trade of potash (a fertilizer), tobacco, and oil towards the EU. To understand the relevance of potash for Belarus, statistics have shown that around 20% of the world potash supply comes from Belarus. As for oil, the country relies heavily on the trade of oil, as their export index contains a large amount of oil exporting (similar to Russia), including to the European Union. Arguably, the least important on this list is tobacco. While Belarus´ export of tobacco to the EU is somewhat significant, it will not damage its economy as much as the trade ban of potash and the trade restriction of oil, and oil related products.
The other restrictions were more of a financial background. According to Reuters, the EU sanction “will include: a ban on new loans, a ban on EU investors from trading securities or buying short-term bonds and a ban on EU banks from providing investment services”, while the export credits of the European Union might also see an end. This means, the actions available to banks from the EU will be limited in Belarus, which means a blow to many investors investing in Belarus. Germany, one of the members of the committee responsible for implementing these sanctions, wants to keep the sanctions until Belarus holds free democratic elections and releases its prisoners, who were imprisoned due to political reasons. As these demands are unlikely to be met soon, it seems the sanctions might be ongoing for several years.
The sanction deal package will be voted on next week on Thursday, where leaders across the EU will decide on the matter. The Austrian foreign ministry added that “with this agreement the EU is sending a clear and targeted signal against the Belarusian regime´s unbearable acts of repression”. It seems the EU will once again come together as one and will send a message to Belarus to show their dislike of the regime´s recent actions. Moreover, it will try everything in their power to help Roman Protasevich and his girlfriend, who were forcibly removed from a Ryanair flight bound for Vilnius, Lithuania last month, to be freed from prison. The Millennial Agora is closely following the news regarding Belarus to inform its readers about the latest reports.