The EPP Group supports the proposal of Svetlana Tikhanovskaya to initiate an international summit on the crisis in Belarus.
“Such a summit should take place without delay under the leadership of the EU. As the EPP Group, we already attempted to organise a high-level mediation mission to the country in order to explore every possible way to stop the violence, free political prisoners and help create conditions for political dialogue in the country. Regrettably, the initiative was blocked. Those political parties in the European Parliament, which receive Russian money in exchange for political support for Russian policies, bear moral responsibility for letting Belarusians suffer and die just at the EU’s front door,” insisted Sandra Kalniete MEP, Vice-President of the EPP Group, ahead of today’s debate on the systemic repression in Belarus and its consequences for European security.
Kalniete stressed the need to further step up the EU’s response to the crimes perpetrated by the Lukashenko regime in Minsk. “We call for the establishment of an international tribunal to prosecute Alexander Lukashenko and his henchmen who waged war against Belarusians. We call for the suspension of Belarusian national teams from European and World Championships as well as from the Olympics. We call for an extension of the current EU sanctions to all those who are linked to state repression, including those who are propping it up and providing the regime with economic support and assistance. Roman Protasevich, Sofia Sapega and all political prisoners should be immediately and unconditionally released and the EU sanctions, including the ban on the Belarusian carriers, should remain in place as long as it doesn’t happen,” she said.
“Just at our borders, more than 35.000 people have been jailed, more than 4.600 persons are reported as being tortured, and many have died or committed suicide during detention or interrogations. More than 400 are being considered as political prisoners, among them – teenagers. The hijacking of an EU plane put the lives of EU nationals in danger and undermined trust in the overall safety of civilian flights. We can’t stand idly by. If we aspire to the role of defenders of democracy and values around the world, we have to act now and stop Lukashenko, Europe’s bloody dictator, from killing his compatriots and endangering our security,” said Kalniete.
“Our answer must be strong. The current situation is a test of the credibility of the European Union and effectiveness of our foreign policy. Europe must offer tangible and long-term support to those democratic forces that strive to bring freedom and democracy to Belarus,” Kalniete concluded.