Politically paralysed EU can only watch as Belarus unravels

Police detaining protesters during a rally of opposition supporters, who accuse strongman Alexander Lukashenko of vote rigging in the presidential election, in Minsk on Tuesday. The official results handed Mr Lukashenko victory, but were disputed by
Police detaining protesters during a rally of opposition supporters, who accuse strongman Alexander Lukashenko of vote rigging in the presidential election, in Minsk on Tuesday. The official results handed Mr Lukashenko victory, but were disputed by the opposition and sparked protests by thousands, leading to a crackdown.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BERLIN • The political tragedy that was unfolding this week in Minsk following an obviously rigged election not only had the brave people of Belarus finding themselves on the losing end. The European Union also painfully had to recognise its limits.

Once again, the EU witnessed a clear breach of international rules and standards happening right on its doorstep - and could do nothing but pay lip service and issue rather lame statements. It was another affirmation that the economically powerful EU is suffering from a lack of political leverage.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2020, with the headline 'Politically paralysed EU can only watch as Belarus unravels'. Print Edition | Subscribe