European Parliament member Jacek Protasiewicz does not believe election in Belarus will be free

2008 2008-06-23T14:19:00+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

Chairman of the Delegation of the European parliament for relations with Belarus Jacek Protasiewicz believes that the parliamentary elections in Belarus won’t be free.

He expressed this opinion during the discussion “On prospects of culture and civil society in Belarus” held last weekend in Wroclaw, Poland, which was dedicated to the topic of the upcoming parliamentary ‘elections’ and the further policy of the European Union concerning Belarus.

“It is very difficult to build a long-term policy towards Belarus, and results of the election should be waited for,” one of the participants of the discussion, Jacek Protasiewicz, noted in an interview to the Polish Radio.

“The only thing we could demand today is free elections. They could unblock the possibility of contacts with the West, create some sort of alternative. But unfortunately, it is most likely that the election won’t be free, so we plan to hold a conference in Lithuania after the election, in order to decide with the Lithuanian parliament and our US partners how to continue to implement the policy of the EU concerning Belarus. At the same time, a representation of the European Commission was opened in Minsk in March, in order to support not only political, but economic relations as well. The Belarusian economy is experiencing a crisis; it is more and more depending on Russia. The only way of salvation for Belarus is to be opened for cooperation with the West,” Jacek Protasiewicz believes.

Participants of the meeting asked Jacek Protasiewicz about a possibility to decrease the cost of visas for Belarusians. “In order to agree upon a possibility to travel at a lower cost, the Belarusian authorities should make certain steps towards democratization. The EU does not cooperate with undemocratic countries on principle,” Jacek Protasiewicz answered.