Election fraud followed by the disproportionate use of force against peaceful protesters in Belarus strongly weakened the legitimacy of the country’s leader, A. Lukashenka, as the Belarusian people have shown their palpable desire for change. Reacting to the protests that arose after the August 2020 presidential election in Belarus, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, stated: “The Belarusian population wants change, and wants it now. The EU stands by them” (EEAS 2020). Even if the outcome of this ongoing political crisis remains uncertain, it may have profound (geo)political consequences for the EU’s external action, altering security arrangements in Central Europe and affecting the Eastern Partnership (EaP). It is thus essential for the EU to re-consider its relations with Belarus in order to build a constructive and comprehensive approach towards Minsk.
This policy brief discusses the current political crisis in Belarus and suggests ways policy-makers in the EU might respond to it. It begins with a clarification of the Belarusian unrest and the EU’s hesitant response. The brief then discusses the possible (geo)political repercussions of the crisis for the EU before considering various ways to address them.
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