From Sanctions to Summits: Belarus after the Ukraine crisis
Should the EU shift to a more constructive approach to re-engage with Belarus?
Yaraslau Kryvoi, Editor-in-Chief, Belarus Digest
Andrew Wilson, Senior Policy Fellow, ECFR
Sophia Pugsley, Wider Europe Coordinator, ECFR
With the situation in the East drastically changed by the Ukraine crisis, the EU should re-engage with Belarus, according to ECFR’s latest policy memo which came out in May. The co-authors – and the panellists – argued that the policy of engagement with Belarusian society recommended here would not be inconsistent with retaining individual visa bans and targeted sanctions imposed as a proportionate reponse to political imprisonment. They believe Minsk is nervous about Russian aggression whilst Russia’s economic problems have diminished the Kremlin’s appeal for Belarus’s leadership. The EU has now an opportunity to shift to a more constructive approach to reinforce Belarus’s independence, increase its openness to Western influence and promote a more independent civil society.
Yaraslau Kryvoi is the Editor-in-Chief of Belarus Digest and Secretary of the Anglo-Belarusian Society. He has been working for international law firms and taught law in the United Kingdom, Russia, Belarus and the United States for over ten years. He is originally from Minsk and is currently an Associate Professor at the University of West London.
Andrew Wilson is Senior Policy Fellow at ECFR and editor of ECFR’s forthcoming What does Ukraine Think? essay collection. His most recent book – Ukraine Crisis: What it Means for the West – was published in 2014.
Sophia Pugsley is Co-ordinator of the Wider Europe Programme at ECFR. Previously she worked in the humanitarian world for ten years, mostly with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).