Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2006-03-23-Speech-4-026"

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". Madam President, the European Union is certainly a community of shared values, a community of democratic countries. Consequently, we have to make it explicitly clear that we do not accept the repressive regime of President Lukashenko; the violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms; the violation of the election campaign rights of the registered opposition candidates and the arrest of members of the opposition and peaceful demonstrators. Policy declarations are important, but they are certainly not enough. We therefore have to introduce and maintain sanctions that clearly reflect our position. We should avoid economic sanctions at large that would hit the population. Our sanctions should be precisely targeted against those responsible for the fraudulent elections and for the survival of the repressive regime in Belarus. Such sanctions could include, for example, the extension of the visa ban or the freezing of assets in the Member States. Parallel to the sanctions and the increase of support to civil society and the democratic forces in the country, we have to encourage and facilitate people-to-people contacts by, for instance, waiving visa fees on an ad hoc basis. We also have to support NGOs. We are aware of the problem that, according to our rules, support can only be granted to officially registered NGOs, but the Commission has found a solution to this. We now agree to fund NGOs which are registered outside Belarus, but which work for the benefit of the country and its people. The debate here was quite encouraging. It shows that Members of the European Parliament, the Presidency – i.e. the Member States – and the Commission are following the same line. By following the same line and working in close cooperation, we will finally promote democratic changes in Belarus."@en1

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