Lukashenko in Vienna: too much of an honour?

The president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, visited Austria on Tuesday. According to the Austrian Office of the President one of the topics under discussion was "problematic issues to do with human rights". Commentators criticise that the EU states lack a clear stance vis-à-vis the autocratic leader but see an opportunity for improvements.

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Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Europe's lack of strategy can be dangerous

The state visit of autocratic President Alexander Lukashenko to Austria highlights how the EU lacks a concept when it comes to its dealings with its eastern neighbours, warns the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:

“Austria emphasises that the initiative has been coordinated with the EU and key member states, and the latter confirm that they have been informed. But there is no sign of a common strategy or even a coordinated initiative in dealing with this small state dependent on Putin's good will. ... The fact that the struggle for power and money in such a geopolitical grey area has the potential to escalate was demonstrated in Ukraine in 2014. This makes it all the more important for Europeans to take a clear stance, in order to set the conditions for further economic rapprochement.”