The European Union is preparing to impose new sanctions against Belarusian companies and individuals that are deemed responsible for human rights violations, a European Council spokesperson told RIA Novosti. “The Council ruled on a decision that expands the criteria for restrictive measures (sanctions) against individuals and companies. It lays a further foundation for determining people and companies, responsible for repressions against civil society and democratic opposition,” the spokesperson said. According to EU diplomatic sources, the new sanctions increased the list of Belarusian officials banned from traveling within the EU member states by another 135 people. Over 200 Belarusian officials are currently under EU and the U.S. sanctions that were first introduced in January 2011 in response to December 2010\'s flawed elections and brutal clampdown on opposition leaders and protesters. Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, dubbed \"Europe\'s last dictator,\" said last week that he would “think seriously” about reforming the ex-Soviet state’s “political system” after a parliamentary vote in September.