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EU summit agrees sanctions against Belarus regime

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EU summit agrees sanctions against Belarus regime

Von-der-Leyen - Michel - Photo EU Council

(BRUSSELS) - EU leaders at a summit Friday agreed to impose sanctions on the Belarus regime, calling for an end to violence and repression, and giving support to new free and fair elections without external interference.

At the two-day meeting, the European Council condemned the Belarusian authorities' unacceptable violence against peaceful protesters, intimidation and arbitrary arrests and detentions following the presidential elections, the results of which it does not recognise.

They called on the Belarusian authorities to end violence and repression, release all detainees and political prisoners, respect media freedom and civil society, and start an inclusive national dialogue. They agreed that restrictive measures should be imposed and called on the Council to adopt the decision without delay. The European Council also encouraged the European Commission to prepare a plan of economic support for democratic Belarus.

In a statement, the European Council also reiterated its full solidarity with Greece and Cyprus, whose sovereignty and sovereign rights must be respected. The leaders welcomed recent confidence-building steps by Greece and Turkey and the announcement that they will resume their exploratory talks. At the same time, they strongly condemned violations of the sovereign rights of the Republic of Cyprus and called on Turkey to accept the invitation by Cyprus to engage in dialogue.

EU leaders also condemned the assassination attempt on Alexei Navalny using a military chemical nerve agent from the 'Novichok' group. They called on the Russian Federation's authorities to fully cooperate on an impartial international investigation and bring those responsible to justice.

On the EU's economic base, EU leaders focused on:

  • returning to a fully functioning single market as soon as possible
  • making the EU's industries more competitive globally and increasing their autonomy
  • accelerating the digital transition

Regarding EU moves to a 'digital transition', the summit agreed that at least 20% of the funds under the Recovery and Resilience Facility would be made available for the digital transition, including for SMEs. Together with the amounts under the long-term EU budget, these funds would help to advance objectives such as:

  • fostering European development of the next generation of digital technologies, including supercomputers, quantum computing, blockchain etc.
  • developing capacities in strategic digital value chains, especially microprocessors
  • speeding up the deployment of high capacity and secure network infrastructure, including fibre and 5G
  • enhancing the EU's ability to protect itself against cyber threats
  • making use of digital technologies to achieve the EU's ambitious environmental goals
  • upgrading digital capacities in education systems

European Council conclusions, 1-2 October 2020


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