Head of Division Eastern Partnership – Bilateral Relations
DIRECTORATE Russia, Eastern Partnership, Central Asia Regional Cooperation & OSCE
Brussels, 27 October 2020 EURCA.EAST.2 (2020) RT/4933901 – 4940694
Mrs Enira Bronitskaya
We would like to thank for your letter of 12 August to the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen and to the High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell Fontelles expressing concern about the situation in Belarus. Please know that we are following the situation very closely, with support of our Delegation in Minsk.
The Presidential elections on 9 August were neither free nor fair, and State authorities deployed disproportionate and unacceptable violence causing at least one death and many injuries.
As you know, the EU has reacted quickly and set out a firm line. On its meeting on 14 August, the EU Foreign Affairs Ministers made clear that that the European Union considers the elections were fraudulent and did therefore not accept the results as presented by the Belarus Central Election Commission. These positions were reaffirmed on the 19 August, when the members of the European Council stated that the people of Belarus have the right to determine their future.
Unfortunately, the situation continues to deteriorate. The brutal crackdown continues, against citizens, journalists and against members of the Coordination Council.
The EU adopted sanctions against a substantial number of individuals responsible for violence, repressions and falsification of election. On 1 and 2 October, the European Council agreed that restrictive measures against 40 persons should be imposed and called on the Council to adopt the decision without delay.
On 12 October, EU Foreign Ministers agreed to start preparing the next sanctions package that will include Mr. Lukashenko himself. In line with the EU’s gradual approach, the EU stands ready to take further restrictive measures, including against entities and high-ranking officials, including A. Lukashenko.
The Foreign Ministers also adopted conclusions, sending a clear message to the Belarusian authorities that ‘business as usual’ is no longer possible in EU-Belarus relations. These conclusions reiterate that the EU stands in solidarity with the people of Belarus and will step up support to the civil society. They send a clear signal that the EU stands ready to support a meaningful democratic transition in Belarus and identify very concrete proposals that the EU is ready to offer for a new democratic Belarus. The review of EU-Belarus relations will be finalized based on the framework provided by the adopted Council Conclusions.
I would like to reassure you that the EU expresses full solidarity with the people in Belarus and we will continue our work aimed at stopping repression and contributing to peaceful and democratic change in Belarus. The people of Belarus deserve better and their demand for new free and fair elections should be answered positively
[E-Signed] Richard Tibbels