UK says lifting Belarus sanctions was the “best outcome given differing opinions”

01 Jan 1970 1:00 am by Mark Dunn

Posted on by  Maya Lester on

The House of Commons EU Scrutiny Committee (meeting summary here) asked the Europe Minister to comment on the EU's decision to lift its Belarus sanctions against 170 people and 3 entities on 15 February 2016, leaving only 4 people still listed (see previous blog). The Minister David Lidington stated that the UK "continues to advocate a cautious approach to EU-Belarus relations", but that the Council's decision "is the best outcome given differing opinions amongst Member States" since "failure to come to a consensus view would have seen the restrictive measures against Belarus expire" on 29 February.

The Minster said that "too little time has passed to judge Belarus' long-term commitment to open and democratic governance".  The Committee left it to others "to judge how much constitutes 'too little time', given that President Lukashenko has now been in office since July 1994".

This article first appeared on European Sanctions Law & Practice (, a blog by Maya Lester (+44 20 7379 3550,, a barrister at Brick Court Chambers, and Michael O'Kane (+44 (0) 20 7822 7777, head of Business Crime at Peters & Peters.