On February 15 the Council of the EU decided to extend the suspension of the EU Belarus sanctions concerning 170 persons, including President Lukashenko, and 3 entities that had already been delisted in October 2015.  

Since the current suspension expires on 29 February 2016, we expect the new Council Decision to be published in the coming week.  

The easing of EU Belarus sanctions follows the overall rapprochement between the EU and Belarus, taking into account some of the achievements made by this country in the last 2 years, such as the release of all political prisoners back in August 2015 and the presidential elections of October 2015 that were allegedly held in an environment free from violence.  

Nonetheless, it must be noted that the arms embargo on Belarus is still in force and so are restrictive measures taken against a small number of parties linked to unresolved disappearances of two opposition politicians, one businessman and one journalist. These measures will be extended for a period of 12 months.