Poland mobilizes the European Council to discuss the situation in Belarus
The situation in Belarus, caused by the brutal repression of participants in peaceful protests, was the main topic of discussion during a special videoconference of the European Council. During the discussion, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki presented the Plan for Belarus, the implementation of which will enable the support of Belarusian society on the way to the democratization of the country.
From the very beginning, the head of the Polish government pointed to the need to convene a European Council meeting to address the situation resulting from the rigged presidential election in Belarus. One of the results of Poland's active building of international support for democratic changes in Minsk was convincing EU leaders to actively deal with the situation in the EU direct neighbourhood.
“We are glad that the EU has decided to react quickly, that the European Council has met at our request at such a short notice and that today’s discussions concerned this extremely important topic, i.e. the development of situation in Belarus,” said Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. He also added that “there is no doubt that these great protests in Belarus are an extremely important step towards formation of a civil society, a society that wants true freedom, independence, democracy and lawfulness.”
The discussion also showed widespread support among the European Union countries for the Polish proposal to send a mission to Minsk under the leadership of the OSCE, which could in turn receive expert support from EU institutions.
Prime Minister Morawiecki has also stressed the need for strong political support on the part of the European Union to ensure that the internal crisis in Belarus is resolved peacefully and that the basic human values and rights are respected. When speaking at the European Council, the Head of the Polish Government stressed that the European Union needs to assume a position of responsibility with respect to its nearest neighbours. “We want to send a clear message to Alexander Lukashenko’s regime that the time when it was possible to ignore the voice of the community must end as soon as possible. It is necessary to talk. It is necessary to initiate a process of negotiation and dialogue, which will lead to gradual democratisation of the situation in Belarus,” added the Head of the Polish Government.
Prime Minister Morawiecki presented the proposal of a Plan for Belarus, which is based on several key elements. The first is initiating dialogue between the government and the opposition. This is essential for resolving the crisis in Belarus. Importantly, participants of talks on the opposition side should comprise a group of leaders from various communities, selected also from among émigré activists or imprisoned representatives of the opposition. Furthermore, Belarusian authorities should guarantee immunity to opposition activists returning from abroad. Persons imprisoned for political reasons should be released. According to assumptions of the Plan for Belarus, searching for peaceful solutions should be based on provisions of the constitution. One option is to hold a new election with the participation of international observers.
“At the request of Poland, we have agreed to engage supranational bodies – such as OSCE, which has already proven itself in similar situations – in order to support the democratisation process through, for instance, oversight of preparations to the next election, should the situation develop in this way,” added the Prime Minister at the press conference following the EUCO meeting.
Prime Minister Morawiecki also noted that the programme “Solidarity with Belarus” received a very positive reception at the European Council.
The programme for Belarus is based on three pillars: safety, openness and solidarity. It is based on the following actions and initiatives:
- Support for victims and their families
- Easier crossing of the Polish-Belarusian border for victims or persons fleeing repressions
- Support for young people, students and young researchers
- Support for non-governmental and civil society organisations as well as the Polish minority in Belarus
- Support for independent media and journalists
During the first year, Poland will allocate PLN 50 million to carry out the programme. These will constitute additional funds, over those which Poland allocates towards other programmes related to Belarus, such as Belsat TV.