Authoritarian consolidation in Belarus: What role for the EU?

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Abstract

The aim of this article is to review the EU’s relations with Belarus over recent decades; to examine the patterns, opportunities and limitations of the EU’s policies vis-à-vis the authoritarian regime; and to evaluate the effectiveness of the EU’s responses to the brutal crackdown on civil society and political opposition following the flawed presidential elections in August 2020. It is argued that, despite its careful balancing act between principled approach and pragmatic engagement, the EU’s perception of the Belarusian regime has been overly optimistic and often influenced by the appeal of short-term geopolitical and economic gains. How should the EU deal with a consolidating and increasingly ruthless dictatorship at the heart of Europe? By way of conclusion, the article maps a number of ‘lessons learned’ and suggestions for future EU policy towards Belarus.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-210
JournalEuropean View
Volume20
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2021

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