European Union Urged to Support Belarus’ Democratic Aspirations
Belarusian Democratic Forces Seek European Union’s Support
During a recent plenary session, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the leader of the Belarusian democratic forces, made an appeal to the European Parliament (EP) to endorse Belarus’s European perspective and enhance relations with a democratic Belarus. She put forth a proposition for a memorandum to be signed ahead of the 2024 EP elections. This memorandum would serve as the foundation for cooperation between the European Parliament and democratic Belarus. Tsikhanouskaya emphasized that Belarusians are not willing to see their country handed over to Putin.
She underscored the need for international support in the fight for a democratic Belarus, asserting that Lukashenko, the current president, does not merit a place in international society. Instead, she suggested, his place is in the international court in The Hague. Tsikhanouskaya also revealed plans for the democratic forces of Belarus to start issuing their own passports next year. These documents would prove Belarusian citizenship and would also serve as travel documents for Belarusians living in exile. She intends to request EU governments to recognize this new travel document.
European Parliament’s Stance on Belarus
EP President Roberta Metsola expressed her belief that Belarusians should have the opportunity to live freely, devoid of autocracy and oppression. She assured that the EP would continue to support democratic forces in Belarus and would actively contribute to shaping the EU’s response to the ongoing political crisis in Belarus. Metsola stressed the need to extend EU sanctions against the regime and not forget its actions.
In a bilateral meeting, Tsikhanouskaya awarded Metsola the “Good Neighbourhood Cross.” This award is given to distinguished individuals who have significantly contributed to the Belarusian struggle.
European Parliament’s Resolution on Belarus
The European Parliament expressed concern about the situation in Belarus and adopted a new resolution on EU relations with the country. This resolution endorses the statements of the country’s democratic political parties concerning Belarus’s European perspective. EP members called on the Belarusian regime to release all political prisoners and strongly condemned Minsk’s participation in Russian military aggression against Ukraine.
They expressed grave concern that Belarus is under Moscow’s influence and is effectively a Russian satellite state, housing Russian-led tactical nuclear weapons. The resolution called for stricter EU sanctions against Belarus and highlighted the new security risks to Ukraine, Belarus’s EU neighbors, and the European Union as a whole, particularly with the recent arrival of mercenaries from Russia’s Wagner Group on Belarusian territory.
The resolution was adopted with 453 votes in favor, 21 against, and 40 abstentions, indicating significant support for Belarus’s democratic forces and further actions against the regime.
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