The EU's awkward neighbour: Time for a new policy on Belarus

The EU's awkward neighbour: Time for a new policy on Belarus

Written by Charles Grant, Mark Leonard, 06 April 2006

On 19 March 2006 the people of Belarus vote in a presidential election. The result of an election that has been neither free nor fair is certain: President Alyaksandr Lukashenka will be re-elected. What is not certain is how the EU reacts.The EU should offer the regime big incentives to reform, but also make clear that any further repression would provoke a tough response. The EU should step up its efforts to support civil society and overhaul its methods for aiding NGOs. The EU must also engage with Russia to discuss how best to encourage a reform agenda within Belarus.