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Belarusian Review

Media Watch

No Business as Usual

The following is the conclusion of an Economist blog by Edward Lewis, dated December 23, 2010. In his blog the author questions some of the premises stated in a New York Times article by the four European Foreign Ministers “Lukashenka the Loser”

The article is a fine start. But without followup, it will be just words. Here are a few possible suggestions, in no particular order.

1) Strength in numbers. Where are Urmas Paet, Ģirts Kristovskis, Audronius Ažubalis, Mikuláš Dzurinda, János Martonyi, Alexander Stubb and the other European foreign ministers? (they represent Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary and Finland). The danger is that the article looks like a disappointed squawk from the authors of a failed policy, rather than a menacing growl from a united Europe.
  2) Offer immediate EU scholarships for those students thrown out of university for their part in the protests
3) Set up a legal defence fund to pay the defence costs of those being prosecuted
4) Institute an immediate visa ban so that those involved in election falsification, illegal detention, beatings and show trials are unable to travel to any EU country. 
5) Invite Joanna Survilla, president of the (unrecognised) Belarusan government-in-exile to high level meetings in EU capitals.
6) Issue strong simultaneous protests to Belarusan ambassadors in all EU countries
7) Say that unless protestors are released, all 27 EU ambassadors will be withdrawn
8) Make life difficult for Belarusan state agencies and entities to access the international financial system (banks, bond markets)
9) Apply EU competition law strictly to any exports of Belarusan goods, especially gas or oil,
10) Suspend Belarus’s membership of the Council of Europe parliamentary assembly.

  What do readers think? I suspect that a combination of these might have more effect than a finely couched op-ed.

This article appeared in
Belarusian Review, Vol. 22, No. 4
Copyright 2010 Belarusian Review
All rights reserved.

Edward Lewis

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