European Parliament Resolution On EU Policy Towards Belarus

 (2013 09 13)

Strasbourg, 12 September 2013: European Parliament adopted resolution on EU policy towards Belarus. Please find the document here.


Press release, 12 09 2013

Belarus: hopes to unblock relations at Eastern Partnership summit

The EU has to take advantage of Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius to unlock relations with Belarus, say MEPs in a resolution adopted on Thursday. However, "unconditional and immediate" release of all Belarusian political prisoners still remains "absolute prerequisite" for any lifting of the EU sanctions, they add.

"Lithuania's Presidency and the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius is an opportunity to improve relations with Belarus, as soon as all political prisoners have been released. It is important that the vast majority of opposition parties in Belarus favor this position" said rapporteur Justas Vincas Paleckis (S&D, LT) in debate before MEPs voted on the resolution.

Vilnius Summit

Resolution expresses MEPs hopes for the Vilnius summit to restart the EU-Belarus political dialogue. They point to the temporarily lifted EU travel ban for Belarusian Foreign minister Uladzimir Makei and call the EU to facilitate his participation in the Eastern Partnership summit. However, MEPs stressed in the debate that release of all Belarusian political prisoners was "absolute priority for the EU" and pointed to chance for "moves in the right direction" still before the summit.

Hockey World Championship 2014

MEPs call in the resolution on the International Ice Hockey Federation to "seriously reconsider its decision to allow Belarus to host the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championship".

People to people contacts

In debate Mr Paleckis pointed to the fact that the the EU has "distanced itself from Belarus with a kind of financial visa wall" and said that "EU should open all gates, doors and even windows for the people to people contacts".

By regretting the "Belarus's progressing self-isolation" MEPs suggest to consider reducing the EU visa cost of 60 EUR to an "affordable level for Belarusian citizens" and apply other visa facilitation measures. However, the EU should stay firm on visa ban for those directly involved in violating democratic election standards and human rights.

Text also calls to provide education opportunities in the EU for Belarusian young people and secure funding for the Erasmus Mundus programme for Belarusian students. By quoting examples of Poland, Lithuania and Latvia, Mr Paleckis called more EU cities to engage into local and regional cross border cooperation with Belarus.

Source: European Parliament‘s Press release, 12 09 2013 ©