Expert: journalists and FC Dinama-Minsk could be excluded from black list
EU Council extended the sanctions against Belarus Until October 31, 2015. The EU's decision is motivated by the fact that "not all the political prisoners were released and rehabilitated, and the fact that respect for human rights, rule of law and democracy in Belarus have not improved."
The review also has an updated list of Belarusian citizens and organizations against which restrictive measures will continue to apply. According to the report, the Council of the EU "sees no reason to keep the sanctions for 24 people and 7 companies that are under the restrictions".
"It's a sign from the EU that they are willing to reconsider the sanctions," political scientist Andrey Yeliseyeu expressed this opinion on the changes in the blacklist. "They show that they do not link the diplomatic mediation of Belarus on Ukraine directly with the black list. The European Union appreciates the role played by Belarus in Donbas conflict, but does not intend to cancel the black list without the release of political prisoners. Now the EU expects the decisive step from Belarus."
It is unknown who was excluded from the black list. According to Yeliseyeu, most likely it is the people who do not hold positions on which they were listed. Also, the analyst assumes that it excluded from the list some journalists, Dinama-Minsk and a number of companies that changed the owner.
"Deadend in the relations between EU and Belarus formally remains," says Andrey Yeliseyeu on the possible response of the Belarusian authorities. "Belarus certainly wanted the EU to note its role in Donbas conflict, but these things are not related. So now the ball is on the Belarusian side: they need to release political prisoners. But I do not think that Minsk is ready to make radical concessions. It simply does not see what it will gain from normalizing relations with the EU if all political prisoners would be released."
European Council stresses that reduced black list does not mean there is change of EU policy towards Belarus. "The EU continues to implement a policy of critical cooperation with Belarus, which aims to promote respect for human rights, rule of law and democratic principles in Belarus," said the statement.
List of people and companies that were excluded from the black list, will be published by the EU on Friday, October 31. Relevant legal acts will be published in the Official Journal of the EU and come into effect on Friday.