The European Union has not imposed economic sanctions on Belarus but has rather introduced "restrictive measures" targeting certain individuals and their activity, German Ambassador Wolfram Maas said in an interview with BelaPAN.
The diplomat defended the introduction of the measures. "Belarus demands that it be treated as a normal European state, and rightly so. And Belarus is regarded by us as a European state. That's why it is measured against European standards," he said.
According to Mr. Maas, Belarus has failed to meet the commitments that it took in the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations. "It's completely clear that it's important to the EU that Belarus observes these principles that have been jointly agreed upon," he stressed.
The EU has done its utmost to have the principles put into practice in its relations with Belarus, he said, noting that the 27-nation bloc had offered visa facilitation to Belarus.
The ambassador predicted that wider sanctions by the EU could hit hard ordinary Belarusians. "I believe everyone understands what we are aspiring to and understands our readiness to make certain signals for the sake of the achievement of the goals that we are setting ourselves. The expansion of the economic sanctions is a measure that could affect the entire Belarusian people harshly and we cannot be interested in that," he said.
"The EU tries to have the sanctions target exclusively those who, in our opinion, bear responsibility for actions that should not be done," Mr. Maas said.