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EU Wants new powers to sanction nations like Belarus, says Von der Leyen

The EU will consider providing new powers to impose sanctions in the face of human rights abuses, Ursula von der Leyen has advised Euronews.

Von der Leyen created the comment responding to a query concerning Belarus, which was rocked by weeks of protests over a disputed presidential election.

Long-time leader Alexander Lukashenko was declared as the winner having an 80 percent vote share, but his critics say the election was rigged in his favor.

The protests have ranged from the capital city Minsk and been put down by law enforcement and security forces.

Asked about the EU answer to Belarus, European Commission President Von der Leyen stated EU states were talking”sanctions for people who are accountable for the violence after the elections which were neither free nor fair and at which individuals peacefully took to the roads”.

She said Belarus had emphasized the need for new forces to react quicker with sanctions. The EU leader said the European Commission would suggest its “so-called Magnitsky Act”, speaking to the legislation in the US that resisted 18 Russian officials thought to have been involved in the mistreatment and death of a Russia financier, Sergei Magnitsky, who died in police custody at 2009 aged only 37…

The law has been expanded in 2016 and has been used to bar officials in China, the Dominican Republic, Gambia as well as the US’s NATO ally, Turkey.

European nations can impose sanctions independently on other countries and a range of Baltic countries have done so on Belarus. However, the bloc hasn’t acted collectively on the problem.

European foreign ministers agreed on last December to start work on a Magnitsky Act for its whole bloc.

Members of this European Parliament endorsed a resolution calling for you in March 2019.

Wondering if the EU had believed sanctions against Turkey within its latest spat with Greece over drilling rights from the Mediterranean Sea, Von der Leyen stated the matter” wasn’t discussed”.

Von der Leyen was also asked about the answer to the COVID-19 outbreak as well as the fact that lots of nations were carrying their particular approach to combatting the virus, instead of a combined pan-European reaction. However, she said the two weren’t mutually exclusive.

“it’s quite clear between the Members States and the Commission which we’re putting forward recovery strategies which are going to be individual, nationwide recovery plans, however, they honor and execute our common viewpoints,” Von der Leyen explained.