The Treaty of Rome signed in 1957 did something amazing. For the first time ever, the conditions necessary for peace in Europe were formed. Tying the economies together has made a reluctance to work together and the democratic credentials needed to be a member has ensured a lasting peace through the democratic peace theory.
Europe even won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.
All is fine and dandy on the European Continent then eh!?
Not Quite. Bordering 3 EU States, lies Belarus. Under the control of Alexander Lukashenko since 1994, he is often referred to as ''Europe's Last Dictator''.
According to the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE) after a review of the 2012 parliamentary elections:
The Economist magazine wrote a very interesting article back in 2010 where it was noted that:The legal framework does not adequately guarantee the conduct of elections in line with OSCE commitments and international standards. In particular, this includes key provisions
concerning voter and candidate registration, election commission composition, election observation,
election day procedures, and the complaints and appeals process.
Belarus's election: What should the EU do about Belarus? | The EconomistBelarus's security service, which still calls itself the KGB, has filed charges against 17 opposition figures, among them seven presidential candidates who ran against Mr Lukashenka. They face up to 15 years in prison on charges of organising mass disturbances.
The best line sums up the EU's efforts in the region:
The EU handed down travel bans (oy vey!) to the Belorussian government following the 2010 presidential election. Offers of aid from Germany and several other EU states were ignored in return for free elections were ignored in favour of an oil deal with Russia.The EU's recent record of promoting democracy in former Soviet republics has been pitiful
An excellent example of the police state in action surrounds the case of Andrei Sannikov, the main opposition runner in the 2010 Presidential election. He was incarcerated in a Minsk KGB facility for peacefully protesting at a demonstration after the elections, and faced up to a 15 year imprisonment. Amnesty International labeled him a prisoner of conscience and called for his immediate release on the grounds that he may be facing torture and medical neglect while in custody. Not only that, but as the New York Times reported:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/10/wo...ef=todayspaperThe government warned recently that it might seize custody of the 3-year-old son of an opposition presidential candidate who was jailed along with his wife, a journalist. The authorities said that they were investigating the status of the child, who is now living with his grandmother, and that they expected to make a decision by the end of the month.
Sannikov was released in 2012 after a presidential pardon.
It's very clear that this authoritarian police state runs contrary to the values of the European Union. Despite bordering 3 EU States, the EU to date has done little or nothing to support a democratic transition in the country.
Is there something Europe can do or should it not get involved? Remember the Balkans conflict?
The EU is developing it's foreign and security policy abroad with the development of EUFOR missions such as Chad and the battlegroups. Yet, close to home, nothing seems to be done to tackle the Belorussian regime.
This is the current make up of parliament:
The Green represents Lukashenko while the Red represents the Communist party of Belarus which supports the regime.
I look forward to your thoughts.