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"A dangerous global precedent"

drapeau opposition belarusse
uzhursky - Shutterstock.com

The situation in Belarus is getting more tense by the day. EU leaders decided yesterday to close their airspace to the Lukashenko regime, which is accused of deliberately diverting a commercial plane to Minsk in order to arrest a government critic who was on board. Our members Engin Eroglu, Jean-Louis Bourlanges and Fréderic Petit comment on the situation.

Our German MEP Engin Eroglu praises the EU's quick reaction in imposing sanctions on Belarusian individuals and institutions. At the same time, however, he calls for going one step further and imposing further sanctions, "because dictators like Lukashenko can only be impressed with strength. To this end, Belarus should be cut off from SWIFT, the global interbank communication system. Such measures have already been taken against Iran and have been called for several times in the case of Russia. For this, the US and the EU must organise a coordinated response and push for the disconnection from SWIFT."

MEP Eroglu also points out that "this kidnapping by the Lukashenko regime [sets] a dangerous global precedent. A precedent that is also closely watched by much larger countries that also like to pursue their domestic enemies abroad - especially countries like China. If even a small country like Belarus can demand that a plane be diverted to Minsk, what's to stop the Chinese leadership from forcing a plane to land in Beijing?"

Jean-Louis Bourlanges, MoDem deputy and chair of the National Assembly's Foreign Affairs Committee, agrees with Engin Eroglu in commending "the determination, the swiftness of the European Union's response, this is new and extremely welcome." He placed "this blatant attack on the European Union" in a series of humiliations towards the European Union, which includes the expulsion of diplomats at a press conference in Moscow as well as "Sofagate" in Turkey. He also reminded readers of the fact that "one of the two hostages has been granted asylum by a European Union state" and demanded that "President Lukashenko release the two hostages he has kidnapped, imprisoned and tortured."

Frédéric Petit, Deputy Secretary General of the PDE, speaks about the concept of the rule of law in Europe and its constant violation by the Belarusian regime. The deputy of French residents in Germany, Central Europe and the Balkans thinks that "history and mentalities can remain different...What we must have in common, and what would be a problem if it were not respected, is a basis of how to manage our dissent, which must be the same in terms of territory, in terms of the organisation of powers."

He points out that "people have disappeared, we know that. What is happening today in Belarus worries us. What is happening there now, we cannot allow. Not only for humanitarian reasons, like nowhere else in the world, but also for self-interest and protection. When your neighbour's house is on fires, it is not the same as when a house on the other side of town is on fire."

To learn more about this topic, read this interview Frédéric Petit gave to Sud Radio (in French).

You can find Engin Eroglu's full statement here (in German) and the interview with Frédéric Petit on the MoDem website here.