Schulz: «Belarus is the last cruel dictatorship in Eastern Europe»

The European Commission considers the main result of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly’s II session held in Baku, Azerbaijan, on April 3, 2012 the recommendation to strengthen parliamentary democracy and to promote free and fair elections in the eastern partners of the EU.

The Euronest Co-Chair from European Parliament Kristian Vigenin emphasized that as Belarus lacks internationally-recognized parliamentary power, it is not taking part in Euronest, but a standing Euronest working group on Belarus aims to bring it into the Assembly as soon as possible.

At the same time in a video message European Parliament President Martin Schulz referred to Belarus as the «last cruel dictatorship in the eastern neighbourhood» and hoped that «one day freely elected representatives of Belarus can join our assembly».

EU Enlargement commissioner Stefan Fule stressed that there is no place for political prisoners in the Eastern Partnerhsip region while speaking at a meeting of the EU-Neighborhood East Parliamentary Assembly in Baku. In his speech, Mr. Fule expressed «sincere» regret that Belarusian lawmakers were not present at the meeting. «Yet, I think that they will one day join your Assembly,» he said.

He said that the EU was strengthening its ties with Belarus’ civil society and had reiterated its commitment to the policy of critical engagement with the country’s authorities.

«I am guided by the long-term vision of a democratic and prosperous Belarus, free of political prisoners and strongly anchored in a common space of European values,» he said. «Let me here stress the following: there is no place for prisoners of conscience or for political prisoners in the Eastern Partnership region.»

Mr. Fule described Euronest PA as an important element of the Eastern Partnership of which Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine are members.


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