Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2012-03-14-Speech-3-559-000"

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"Mr President, ladies and gentlemen, Belarus is in a state of emergency. Since the fraudulent re-election of President Lukashenko, the dictator has treated the opposition with brutal severity and terror. Dozens of people, whose only crimes were to demand democracy and participation, have been given long prison sentences, with their confessions being obtained under torture. For this reason, the EU has imposed a travel ban for supporters of the regime who were involved in this, and it has also frozen their foreign accounts. This is a strategy, which, on the one hand, exerts pressure on the system and, on the other, supports civil society. However, we should look closely at the extent to which these measures actually work, and why the Belarusian Interior Minister is able to travel to the Interpol conference in Lyon, for example, while the sons of the dictator can explore the world with total impunity as members of the National Olympic Committee. The freezing of accounts, which is a matter for the individual EU Member States, is also questionable. As most companies in Belarus are owned by the state, the EU, with a trade surplus of USD 6 billion last year, has, unfortunately, become the largest supporter of Lukashenko’s system, thereby keeping it going. Targeted measures that affect the regime but harm the people in the country as little as possible would therefore be necessary. Economic sanctions against selected companies and intermediaries would have this effect, as the export of fertilisers, steel and crude oil products is 100% dependent on the West. On the other hand, I do not think it is a good idea to relocate the World Ice Hockey Championships. This symbolic gesture may satisfy a few people, but it will affect the wrong people and is more likely to provide fuel for the dictator’s propaganda. Indeed, we experienced this with the Olympics boycott in Moscow, and we refrained from taking this route in connection with Beijing. After all, if we were to apply the method of boycotting sport consistently, we would also have to refuse to hold the European Football Championships in Ukraine."@en1

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