Dutch companies with activities in Belarus don’t provide much information on this at the moment. Riots are very sensitive to that. Several companies will drop the receiver on Tuesday when asked. “Not interested.”
Trade links between Belarus and the Netherlands are not very close either. The country ranks 87th from the countries to which we export goods, according to figures released by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. In 2019, 245 million euros went to the ex-Soviet country. This is similar to exporting to Ethiopia or Curaçao.
However, the economic interests are great. All this has to do with Russia, “Big Brother”. Part of the pipelines through which Russian gas passes to European countries via Belarus.
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So far, the European Union has responded to Russian provocations with sanctions. “But slowly the moment is coming when it is no longer enough. Sanctions are not changing behavior in Russia. More work is needed,” says Matthew Segers, professor of contemporary European history and European integration at Maastricht University.
Nord Stream 2
Then Nord Stream 2, the direct gas pipeline from Russia to Germany appears. Segers says that halting construction will hit Russia directly and very difficult. But Germany and the Netherlands will also suffer from this. Segers: “Imported gas is an important part of our energy mix. Especially if gas extraction is curtailed in Groningen.”
So far, Germany has always said that Nord Stream 2 is a commercial enterprise, and therefore is separate from the tense political situation. But the pressure on Chancellor Merkel continues to increase. Not only within the European Union, but also through the United States. Until now, the Netherlands has been pragmatic about this. We browse the German argument that the pipeline is a commercial venture. But if you leave Germany, you will turn here too, “says Segers.