The EU’s lack of action over Belarus is undermining the credibility of its foreign policy, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevičius told the Financial Times newspaper in an interview published on Sunday.
The EU needs to encourage democracy and counter Russia’s influence in Belarus, Linkevičius said, adding that the bloc should provide “concrete help” to help the opposition.
“Sometimes we react too late and our measures are fragmented and aren’t making any impression on society or the people in power,” Linkevičius told the Financial Times.
“When we will not stand true on our national commitments, it will shatter our own foundation”, he said. “Belarusian people should not feel deserted.”
EU foreign ministers had reached a political agreement in Berlin in late August on punitive measures against high-ranking supporters of Belarusian strongman Alexander Lukashenko to pressure him into holding new elections.
According to the political agreement, the future measures on Belarus are meant to mainly target those accused of being responsible for the fraudulent elections and the violent crackdown on peaceful protests, EU chief diplomat Josep Borrell told reporters in Berlin after the meeting.
Linkevičius said that he would have preferred the EU to wield sanctions, as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia had done against President Alexander Lukashenko and 29 other Belarusian officials.
This story originally appeared on EurActiv, and was edited for brevity by LRT English.