A Dictator in Europe
Beyond the speeches of circumstances and the posturing of politicians, we should assess the current crisis between the European Union and the Belarus in the light of figures that follow. The EU is Belarus' second main trade partner representing 19.3% of the country's overall trade in goods, reaching € 10.4 billion in 2020 (Re.European Commission). Belarus' main exports to the EU are wood (24.2% of total exports) base metals (15.5%) and mineral products (13%). And the EU's main exports to Belarus are machinery (31.3% of total exports), chemicals (15.8%) and transport equipment (10.2%). Trade relations between the two parties are substantial. And Russia is Belarus first trading partner with 47.9% of Belarus' international trade. This makes it all the easier to understand Russia's unwavering support for Belarus. Now, what are the human rights violations observed in Belarus ? The list of these abuses is long. The Human Rights Watch report 2021 is undisputed. It must be remembered that A. Loukachenko has been in power for 27 years. It is also essential to remember that members of the opposition and journalists are frequently arrested and detained for reasons which have no basis and which are purely fictitious. The Belarusian Association of Journalists documented more than 500 incidents of harassment and detention from January through mid-November 2020. Economic sanctions against Belarus in addition to the existing embargo on arms and equipment are a real pressure that must be continued. But obviously the massive support of the Russian leaders for those of Belarus does not facilitate the task of the Europeans.