Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-03-23-Speech-4-022"

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"The results of the presidential elections in Belarus were anticipated. The outcome reflects the use of violence, fraud and mass arrest, in other words, gross violations of the basic rules that govern free and democratic elections. How will the situation evolve now, after the elections? It looks as if one chapter in the struggle for democracy in Belarus has come to a close, but we must not remain inactive. People have been protesting on the streets of Minsk for five days now. What can we in the European Parliament and the European Union do under the circumstances? Firstly, we must not accept the election results. This means we must reject, ignore and isolate the Belarus president from the rest of the world. Secondly, the European Union and the European Parliament must henceforth unambiguously support only the democratic opposition forces and citizens' associations, or civil society, as has already been suggested here. This support should be expressed not only in moral terms but should be specific and include financial assistance. Integrating Belarus opposition parties into European party structures might also be an effective step. The SMK [Hungarian Coalition Party] in Slovakia set a good example in signing an agreement with the Belarus National Front and the United Civic Party last year, and at the same time, the SMK is advancing this issue within the PPE-DE. As a result, the two parties will be given the status of PPE-DE observer members at the Congress to be held in Rome next week. Thirdly, the European Union, particularly the Commission, should draw up a new strategy that is clear, more effective and more consistent. We must not allow EU financial support to be channelled through the Lukashenko administration where we have no control over how it is used. The Slovak Republic is in favour of stricter and tougher procedures. Ladies and gentlemen, the European Union must not leave Lukashenko alone and revert to a ‘business as usual’ policy – as the most important trading partner of Belarus, the EU has in fact been contributing in no small measure to the preservation of this regime."@en1

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