Andrei Sannikov: “Europe has demonstrated fidelity to principles, and it can be acclaimed”

The leader of the civil campaign “European Belarus” has made a statement in connection with presentation of the Eastern Partnership project by the leadership of the EU.

“The fact that the European Union has expressed its readiness to pay more careful attention to the Eastern European region to which Belarus belongs, should be viewed favourably. The leadership of the European Union took into consideration difference in attitudes of post-Soviet states to the principles according to which the united Europe lives. The fact that Belarus is not completely included into the Eastern Partnership is logical, and despite of all talks nothing else could be expected from the EU. Europe has demonstrated its fidelity to principles which can be acclaimed.

The key problem of Belarus is known to everyone. It is not economy, but the repressive political system based on the personal power of Lukashenka. Only democratisation is able to draw Belarus nearer to Europe, and it should be emphasized in any practical steps for realization of the Eastern Partnership program. Today Lukashenka and his representatives state directly that Belarus does not make it aim to integrate into the EU. Thus they underline that they would like to maintain the existing regime, and to receive help from the EU on their own conditions. It is the only thing the regime needs today in the context of the global financial crisis.

It should be reminded that it is not the first offer addressed to Belarus by the EU. The Belarusian regime hasn’t responded to the 12 recommendations of the EU which were offered 2 years ago. In the conditions of the crisis they are ready to give promises generously, but do not want to follow through on their promises.

Today Europe repeats its approach which was stated two years ago in fact. Only tangible moves related to the well-known 12 requirements of the EU could give Belarus a chance for rapprochement with the European Union. It can hardly be expected that anything can change in Belarus without free elections. Unlike the Belarusian authorities, activists and participants of the civil campaign “European Belarus” see the future of Belarus in the United Europe, and believe that only after free elections the country would be able to join in any European programmes and initiatives in its full role,” — stated the leader of the civil campaign “European Belarus”, former deputy Foreign Affairs Minister of Belarus Andrei Sannikov.