Brussels spoke about its demands to the Belarusian authorities.
An extended meeting of the delegation on relations with Belarus was held in the European Parliament today, the correspondent of the Charter97.org website in Brussels reports.
Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus Dirk Schuebel began his presentation with positive points in improving the EU-Belarus relations after lifting most of the sanctions in 2016: numerous dialogues, business cooperation, preparation of an agreement on partnership priorities, visa regime facilitation.
“However, the conclusion of the European Commission clearly states that we can only go further if tangible steps are taken in the field of democracy, the rule of law, human rights and democratic freedoms.”
“And now, of course, we are in a very difficult situation, on the eve of the presidential election,” Dirk Schuebel noted and recalled the numerous demands of the EU to release Viktar Babaryka, Siarhei Tsikhanouski, Pavel Seviarynets, Mikalai Statkevich.
The head of the EU Delegation to Belarus once again listed the EU’s expectations: “We expect the release of all those who were imprisoned over the past few weeks for political reasons ahead of the presidential election. We also expect that all those who have collected more than 100 thousand signatures will be registered. ”
“We also want the campaign participants to be allowed to use city centers for the campaign, and not just the outskirts of the city,” said Dirk Schuebel.
“And, of course, the most important topic is no violence by the authorities. We do not accept any violence against any of the protesters. This is our demand,” the diplomat said.
In addition, the EU expects an invitation for the OSCE / ODIHR observers: “It is already so late that it is no longer possible to form a full-fledged observation mission. But, as I learned, the OSCE / ODIHR is ready to send a reduced mission. And I hope, as the CEC meeting on the registration of candidates is being held, that the invitation will be sent in the very near future.”
Speaking about when the visa facilitation agreement will begin to be implemented, the head of the EU Delegation said: “I really hope that it will happen in the near future.
It will also depend on how the crisis caused by COVID-19 will be overcome. We see that the number of new cases is decreasing, and we hope that this is a real situation and trend. Then it would mean that things are getting better.
But we would like the government to give clear instructions and follow the WHO recommendations. ”
Commenting on the refusal to register Viktar Babaryka as a presidential candidate, the head of the EU Delegation to Belarus said: “This is a bad step. And this will certainly have consequences. It is not good.
I think it will be necessary to wait until 3-4 weeks before election day. And only after that we will need to look and decide how our cooperation with Belarus can be continued. ”
In conclusion, Dirk Schuebel noted that it is “extremely important” not to lose the joint achievements that the diplomat spoke about at the beginning of his speech, including holding meetings, which, in his opinion, will continue.
“As for other problematic issues, we will see whether we will need a new policy in the future. I think that the current policy has worked pretty well so far. But, obviously, we need to wait for the results of the presidential election, which we can only see on August 9 and after that day. ”