After sanctions against Belarus, the EU should consider further measures against Russia. That is what the President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, calls for. He doesn’t shy away from unconventional ideas either.
The President of the European Union Parliament, David Sassoli, has called for sanctions against Russia to be tightened against the background of the crisis in Belarus. “We have to tighten the sanctions against Russian officials, but also establish closer contacts with the population and civil society and support Russian dissidents, NGOs and independent media,” he told the newspapers of the Funke media group on Sunday, according to a preliminary report.
Sassoli described relations between the EU and Russia as “very tense”. He referred to the poisoning and imprisonment of the Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny and the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Criticism of the principle of unanimity
The President of Parliament also called for further steps to be taken to secure the release of the detained blogger Roman Protassevichs from Belarusian custody. His photo should be “exhibited at all airports in the EU and in the European Parliament”.
The EU’s initial reaction to the rerouting of the Ryanair passenger plane was “strong and closed,” Sassoli said. At the same time he admitted: “Our weight in foreign policy would be stronger if we were to overcome the principle of unanimity that sometimes paralyzes us in our decisions.”
On May 23, a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius was intercepted and rerouted by a Belarusian fighter jet because of an alleged bomb threat. Belarus blames the radical Islamic Hamas for the threat. The Palestinian Group rejects this. While the EU and the US announced sanctions against Belarus, the Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenko is receiving support from Russian President Vladimir Putin.