Updated at 11:30,08-12-2016

EU Needs Real Changes In Belarus Electoral Regulations To Lift Sanctions

Real changes in Belarus electoral regulations will prompt the European Union to scrap entirely its sanctions against Alyaksandr Lukashenka and other officials, Jacek Protasiewicz, a Polish member of the European Parliament, said in Minsk last week.

The EUs move to suspend its travel ban on Mr. Lukashenka is aimed at opening up opportunities for Belarus, he said.

Mr. Protasiewicz stressed that the conduct of coming local elections in Belarus would play a key role in the EUs decision-making process regarding the sanctions. If the elections are a success and recognized by the international community as democratic, the EU may scrap the sanctions entirely, he said.

But the EU expects the Belarusian authorities to make real changes in electoral regulations and their enforcement, he warned.

It is not enough for the EU to see Mr. Lukashenka just telling Lidziya Yarmoshyna, head of the central election commission, to change regulations, and it is not enough for it to see a draft bill to this effect going to the parliament, he said, stressing that real changes were needed.