The European Union makes its possible macrofinancial assistance to Belarus conditional on respect for human rights, a source familiar with the European Commission’s stance on the matter told news agency BelaPAN.
The possibility of such assistance, which is offered to countries for supporting economic transformations and structural reform, was discussed during a seminar in Brussels last month, the source said. The meeting was reportedly attended by representatives of the European Commission and the National Bank of Belarus.
“The European Commission’s representatives said that a decision to grant macrofinancial assistance to Belarus should be approved by the European Parliament. The European Parliament, for its part, will hear a report by the subcommittee on human rights to decide on macrofinancial assistance.”
In addition, according to the source, the EU may provide macrofinancial assistance to Minsk only after it secures a new loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
There are unconfirmed reports that a new IMF loan program may also allow Belarus to get fresh development policy loans (DPLs) from the World Bank.
“As long as Belarus has no new program with the IMF, it will be early to speak about the possibility of DPLs,” another source told BelaPAN.
Minsk is said to have requested $500 million in macrofinancial assistance from the EU in the fall of 2016. Analysts warn that Belarus will not be able to secure such assistance if the European Parliament adopts a resolution criticizing the Belarusian authorities’ recent crackdown on peaceful protesters.
Protests in Minsk on March, 25 (ENG video)
On March 25, the Minsk riot police brutally dispersed the protest against the so-called tax on ‘spongers’ introduced by president Alyaksandr Lukashenka in 2015. Even women, elderly people, journalists and ordinary passers-by – were arrested, battered and jailed. It is noteworthy that the protesters also planned a peaceful celebration of Freedom Day. It is an unofficial holiday commemorating the establishment of the first Belarusian nation-state, the Belarusian People’s Republic, on March 25, 1918.
Belsat.eu, via BelaPAN