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EuropeEU Reaffirms Strong Support for Democratic Belarus Amid Rising Repression

EU Reaffirms Strong Support for Democratic Belarus Amid Rising Repression

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In a decisive move, the European Union has once again voiced its firm backing for the Belarusian people’s aspirations for democracy, sovereignty, and human rights. The Council’s latest conclusions underscore a deep commitment to a Belarus that is free, democratic, and an integral part of a peaceful and prosperous Europe.

High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, emphasized that Belarus remains a priority for the EU, condemning the Lukashenka regime’s ongoing human rights violations and repression, especially in the lead-up to the parliamentary and local elections set for 25 February 2024. “Those responsible will be held to account. We stand in solidarity with the Belarusian people and remain determined to mobilise all tools to support their quest for peace and democracy,” Borrell stated.

The Council’s conclusions express grave concerns over the deteriorating human rights conditions in Belarus, strongly denouncing the regime’s persecution, intimidation, and efforts to undermine the fairness and legitimacy of the upcoming elections. The Lukashenka regime’s actions, which threaten the national identity of Belarus by suppressing the Belarusian language and culture, were also highlighted as areas of deep concern.

In addition to domestic repression, the Council condemned Belarus’s support for Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the regime’s hybrid attacks at the EU’s external borders, including the instrumentalization of migrants. These actions not only exacerbate regional tensions but also violate international obligations.

In response to these actions, the EU has implemented targeted sanctions against the Lukashenka regime and stands ready to impose further measures should the authorities continue their oppressive actions. These sanctions aim to hold the regime accountable and support the Belarusian people’s pursuit of democratic freedoms.

Support for Belarusian civil society remains a cornerstone of the EU’s strategy, with the establishment of the EU Consultative Group with Belarusian democratic forces and civil society being a notable step forward. This group serves as a platform for dialogue and support for those fighting for democracy in Belarus.

Moreover, the EU has pledged a comprehensive economic support package worth €3 billion to a future democratic Belarus. This plan aims to foster resilience, promote democratic reforms, create jobs, and improve living standards, signaling the EU’s long-term commitment to Belarus’s integration into the European family.

The Council’s conclusions are a clear indication of the EU’s unwavering support for the Belarusian people’s democratic aspirations and its readiness to stand against any form of repression. As Belarus approaches critical elections, the international community watches closely, hoping for a peaceful transition towards democracy and respect for human rights.

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