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EU and authoritarian countries: what to do with them?

The poisoning of Alexey Navalny and the harsh actions of the Belarusian authorities against the oppositionists require a joint reaction of the EU countries. Against the background of well-known events, the press speculates on how the EU positions itself in relation to autocratic regimes. What standards are applied to individual countries — and is it possible that the EU itself contributes to the prosperity of an authoritarian regime?

Tyrants play on the weaknesses of the West

Russia, Belarus, and Turkey do not even consider it necessary to hide the autocratic nature of their regimes, — writes columnist La Repubblica Ezio Mauro:

“It is clear that these three countries have already crossed a line to which it was still possible to mask the despotism of their own regimes with a fig leaf. The rulers there believe that they no longer need to hide their true face and that they can no longer fear any consequences, both at home and on the international scene. The tyrants tear off their masks because it was an opportune moment and something happened in the world that prompted them to do so. It's something — the weakness of the West and the weakness of democracy — that underpins its existence, determines its political nature — and its vision of the future.

Dictators understand only one language

How to behave with dictators? This science comes very slowly, Nepszava writes:

“Part of the blame for the fact that a number of politicians have built real dictatorships in their countries lies with the European Union. Thus, because of the refugee deal with Turkey, the EU only slightly chewed on Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his anti-democratic measures... After the occupation of Crimea in 2014, the EU imposed sanctions against Russia, but they had no real impact. Now, after the falsified elections in Belarus, the EU is preparing to impose sanctions, which, however, are unlikely to hit Lukashenko. So it seems that dictators get away with everything. However, the very fact that one hears statements about the possibility to stop the construction of Nord Stream 2 shows that it is gradually beginning to reach the West: dictators understand only their own language. And they retreat only when faced with a threat.

And again, double standards!

As the expert in the Middle East Alberto Negri notes in his article in IL Manifesto, the EU at least intends to do something about Russia and Belarus.

“Not a word can be heard about imposing sanctions against Saudi Arabia — a country that systematically violates human rights — or against the United Arab Emirates, which, together with Riyadh, launched the war in Yemen and killed thousands of people — with the help of bombers bought in the U.S. and equipped with German incendiary bombs manufactured on the island of Sardinia. Today, these bloody monarchies and evil opponents of democracy are our best friends also because they have made peace with Israel — or intend to do so. And also because they're going to form an alliance with Egypt between Israel and the Arab countries that would ensure order in the Middle East — and Arab NATO that wouldn't let Iran and its ayatollahs down, but Turkey down as well.

Poland and Hungary: it happens, the mafia and elections are held by

Brussels sometimes has to find ways to influence even its own community members, especially Hungary and Poland. This is how Gazeta Wyborcza describes the power system in these countries:

“An autocrat elected in a free election (or, as in Poland, his shadow) gets a carte blanche to rule the country at his discretion. The state gradually becomes a clan where the ruler 'distributes power and money to all' (Masha Hessen). This is an ordinary mafia, whose godfather from time to time allows elections in the family — and even takes part in them himself.

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