Three comments on the Belarus crisis

The EU has strongly condemned the forced diversion of a passenger flight to Minsk by the Belarusian authorities and called for the release of all passengers. Sanctions were also announced. And now?

Shouldn’t the EU take tougher action now and finally speak “the language of power”? Among experts, the discussion is already in full swing.

I do not presume to know better than C. Bildt or W. Ischinger. Nevertheless, three comments are permitted:

  • The EU is hardly taken seriously in foreign policy any more. Neither Russia, nor the USA, nor Israel take anything from the EUropeans, as the recent conflict in the Middle East has shown. Meanwhile, even smaller countries like Turkey or Morocco challenge the EU – usually with impunity, and often they are even rewarded for it.
  • Belarus, too, does not allow itself to be dictated to by Brussels. The EU sanctions imposed on dictator Lukaenschko and his henchmen have not had any positive effect. However, Brussels has no other means of exerting pressure. The best thing to do is to try to influence Minsk via Moscow – but nothing is happening there at the moment.
  • The Belarus crisis is likely to play a prominent role at the special EU summit on Whit Monday. There it will become clear whether the heads of state and government still have a trump card up their sleeves. However, Belarus has not been on the agenda so far. The leaders wanted to take care of Russia – and condemn the “illegal and provocative steps” from Moscow.

All this shows how ill-prepared the EU is for tests of strength like the one in Belarus. It works its own agenda and talks a lot about “autonomy” and “geopolitics” – but when it comes down to it, you have to improvise…

Translated with (free version). The original post (in German) is here.