Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner sets five conditions for Belarus
During her stay in Minsk on 22 June, the European Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner expressed her hope that ‘relations between Belarus this country in the heart of Europe and the European Union can become warmer and closer in the future.’ However, she stressed that it is only possible in case Belarus took a number of steps aimed at introducing democratic reforms in the country.
Mrs.Ferrero-Waldner said her meeting with President Lukashenka was very productive.
She also said that ‘more cooperation could mean lighter visa requirements and so easier travel to the EU, and more opportunities for cultural and educational exchange.’
‘To be specific, we would like to see changes to the electoral process to make it transparent and fair translated into changes in the legislation. All media should have equal and fair access to information, printing presses and distribution networks. And civil society groups need sustainable and fair conditions for carrying out their work – including reasonable requirements for registration.
More generally, the people of Belarus should be able to express their views in meetings or at peaceful demonstrations in the street. And civil society and opposition activists should be free to carry out their work without intimidation or fear of arrest.
These steps would first and foremost benefit the people of Belarus. But they would also enable the EU to offer Belarus the full range of benefits available to its closest partners in the ENP and Eastern Partnership,’ said Mrs.Ferrero-Waldner.