By John Meyer, for Eurasia Business News – December 1, 2021

Permanent representatives of 27 EU member states have approved the fifth package of sanctions against the Belarusian authorities, reported TASS. The Russian press agency would have been about this on Wednesday by a source in the delegation of a EU member state.

The EU ambassadors at their meeting this morning [Wednesday] approved the fifth package of sanctions, which includes about 25 individuals and entities,” would have said the diplomat. According to him, the decision is expected to be published on Thursday, December 2, in the Official Journal of the EU and come into force.

However, no official confirmation has been published so far.

On November 15, the head of EU diplomacy, Josep Borrell, said that the fifth package of EU sanctions against the Belarusian authorities had been agreed and would be put into effect in the coming days. The fifth package is the sanctions adopted against Minsk following the result of the presidential elections in August 2020 and the subsequent detentions and trials against opponents and protesters. These sanctions are individual in nature. They target the country’s top leadership, including Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his family members, as well as members of the government, security officials, prosecutors, representatives of the judicial and electoral systems.

On November 22, U.S. Special Envoy to Belarus Julie Fisher said during a Wilson Center conference that the United States and the European Union will “soon” impose more economic pain on Belarus for creating a migrant crisis on its border with the EU. Washington and Brussels accuse Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of funneling migrants from Iraq and Syria across the Polish borders to retaliate against sanctions.

Poland has extended a state of emergency that allows the government to continue restricting access to its border with Belarus to everyone except people living or working in the designated zone. Polish border patrols continue blocking access into Poland to migrants. The migration policy led by Warsaw has fuelled controversy with Brussels, eager to open EU borders to migrants.

At the moment, 166 individuals and 15 organizations from Belarus are included in the EU blacklist.

As Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko said earlier, Minsk is calm about the EU’s intention to introduce new packages of sanctions. The Belarusian economy, he said, is successfully coping with this pressure. The main economic partners of Belarus are now Russian and China.

Last June, the Council of the European Union decided to impose sanctions against 78 Belarusian individuals and eight organizations due to the situation with human rights in Belarus.

The Belarus crisis is a test for Europe and for the US President Joe Biden’s diplomacy. After Georgia and Ukraine, the Belarus crisis is a new chapter of the geopolitical confrontation between Washington and Moscow in Europe. Russia will probably increase economic and security support to Belarus. Further economic sanctions against Belarus will increase the dependence of Minsk on Russia and China.

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