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STATEMENT by member of the European Pparliament Petras Auštrevičius on freezing cooperation with Belarusian authorities within the EU Eastern Partnership policy framework

11.09.2020 Source: BAJ Press Service

Brussels, 10 September2020

“I am appalled by and strongly deplore the behaviour of Belarusian authorities towards Belarusian citizens peacefully protesting against fraudulent election results and calling for a new presidential election in accordance to the international election standards.

Until Belarusian authorities ceasetheir brutal behaviour, restore the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms and enter into a dialogue with Belarusian citizens to organize a peaceful power transfer, the EU has to stop any engagement and cooperation with Belarusian authorities in the programs and initiatives under the EU Eastern Partnership policy. All the EUsupport to Belarus, including the additional fundsof EUR 53 million, has to be directly channelled to andfor the benefit of Belarusian people via the civil society actors and organizations.

A special mechanism enabling such distribution of the EU funds has to be immediately developed by taking the best practices of the development cooperation agenciesof the EU Member States, the European Endowment for Democracy, the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forumand other international organizations working in Belarus.

Many Belarusian civil society organizations are deprived of official registration in Belarus and are registered in the EU Member States. These organizations should not be excluded from organizations eligible for the EU support. Moreover, they require aparticular assistance with legal and operational matters in the country of their registration. Also, their representatives should be exempt to strict Covid-19 relatedtravelrules and to be allowed to enter the country where organization isregistered.

Position of the Belarusian civil society actors and organizations should be taken into consideration when deciding upon distribution and channelling of the EU financial support.”

STATEMENT

Petras Auštrevičius, MEP from Lithuania at European Parliament

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