EU approves another package of sanctions against Belarus – European Council president
The EU Foreign Affairs Council approved another package of sanctions against Belarus at a meeting in Luxembourg on Monday, European Council President Charles Michel said.
"Today the EU sends another strong signal of support to the people of Belarus by imposing further restrictive measures," Michel said on Twitter after the sanctions were approved.
Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics has voiced support for the new restrictions on Belarus. "I welcome the EU decision to adopt the 4th package of sanctions against the [Alexander] Lukashenko regime," Rinkevics said on Twitter.
According to western media outlets, the sanctions imply a freeze on assets and a ban on visa issuance to 78 individuals. They will also concern at least seven companies.
The EU is imposing the sanctions in order to urge Minsk to "release all political prisoners. Stop further repression. Start an inclusive national dialogue," Michel said.
"Our message to the regime cannot be misunderstood," he said.
The EU permanent representatives coordinated the new restrictive measures against Belarus last week. The information will be published in the Official Journal of the European Union later on Monday, once all coordination procedures have been completed. The sanctions will take effect as soon as the relevant information is published in the journal.
European Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell said on Monday that the EU foreign ministers would discuss economic sanctions against Belarus later that day, and the Council of the European Union would consider the measures before their adoption.
According to sources in Brussels, the economic sanctions will concern the oil industry and fertilizer and cigarette production. EU ruling bodies are due to put the sanctions into effect before the summer recess. Most likely, the sanctions will coincide with those of Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States, which are closely interacting with the European Union on these issues.
In early June, the Council of the European Union banned flights by Belarusian airlines through the airspace of EU member countries, as well as the access of all kinds of Belarusian airlines to EU airfields. European Council President Michel said later that the EU would rapidly prepare new sanctions against Belarus.
It was reported that further restrictions might be imposed on Belarusian ministers and commanders of the Belarusian Air Force.
The EU did not rule out broader measures against the Belarusian economy in the future.