Interview with Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski.
Belsat: What did you personally think of the Minsk protest video? There hasn’t been so much unjustified brutality by law enforcement officials for a while.
Jacek Saryusz-Wolski: On the one hand, developments in Belarus are reprehensible. It is what the Lukashenka’s government has done repeatedly: arrests of opposition members and the public. On the other hand, there was nothing new — it was to be expected, because Lukashenka always acted this way. Before receiving money from the West, he became nice, and as soon as he received the money, he could imprison people and set riot police against peaceful demonstrators. Those were dramatic events, I sympathize with all those who suffered so much pressure. At the same time, it was naive not to realize that when it comes to respecting human rights, you must first wait for some progress in this area, and only then remove the sanctions and give big money, not before it. Thus, the last example shows that Lukashenka and his administration once again trumped the West and the United States.
Belsat: What steps can Europe, in your opinion, take in this situation, except issuing the traditional appeals of the office of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini to end repression and another European Parliament resolution?
Jacek Saryusz-Wolski: There is no proper answer to the question of what Europe can do, there is an answer to a question what it could have done. It could not have lifted sanctions, could not have rushed to give money. Well, now it can only express concern and condemn which leads to nothing. When Lukashenka and his administration get money from the European Union in order to balance the influence of the Kremlin, there is a minute of thaw. And then it will be the same.
Belsat: What can you tell the ‘Belsat’ audience about the situation with the channel’s funding?
Jacek Saryusz-Wolski: I can only tell “Belsat” reporters to hold on — they are doing a very good job. It is a shame that they have to face such pressure while performing their professional duties. Therefore, it seems to me that this is not a usual journalism, it is a journalism, which requires to pay the bills at the expense of its work. Therefore, my message is as follows: hold on! Your mission is very important.
For the complete talk see the video above.