Rapid visit of euro-parliamentaries
On February 20 a six-hour visit of the group of the deputies of European Parliament took place in Minsk. This visit of Belarusian capital had informal character, but in short time European deputies had many interesting meetings and they also found time on Friday evening to meet journalists at the representation of European Commission in Belarus.
The deputies of European Parliament said that they got Belarusian visas only on Thursday so even didn’t have enough time to have a look at Minsk. In general the deputies approved rapprochement of Belarus and Europe, though there is much work to do in this direction. Unlike inconcrete sayings of higher officials of European Union (Secretary-General of EU Council Xavier Solana, for example), who also visited Belarus this week, the European parliamentaries noticed that further development of Belarusian-European dialog will strongly depend on human rights fulfillment.
According to the words of Jacek Protasiewicz the head of the delegation of Euro Parliament on affairs with Belarus the question of mass media freedom is of higher priority and “we will never deny it”.
“After our meeting with the head of BAJ Zhanna Litvina and her colleagues we had an impression that something has changed but there is still much that needs changes”, - noted Jacek Protasievicz. – We are very glad that two independent newspapers were allowed to publish and distribute through the state net of Belarus but we remember that many newspapers are still waiting for such permission. We are also glad that consultations between BAJ and Belarusian government took place. We know that the results are more important than the facts but the facts of such meetings themselves are good sign.
As Laima Andrikiene the deputy of European Parliament said, this European organization will also control the situation of the participants of the so-called “Vaukavysk case” Mikalay Autukhovich, Yury Liavonau and Uladzimer Asipenka. Recently they were accused of crime according to which they will be sentenced up to 12 years of prison if they will be found guilty.
In the end the deputies of European Parliament hoped that in future they and their colleagues won’t have any doubts about visiting Belarus once again. From their side, as the deputies noted (the deputies from Poland and Lithuania), they expend much efforts to streamline the visiting of EU countries by Belarusians by simplifying the procedure of getting Schengen visas and reducing their cost. “But we must know facts of Belarusian government aiming to liberalization and democratization in the country to over persuade our colleagues in Euro structures about the importance of such process”, - underlined Laima Andrikiene.