ACHIEVEMENTS AND CHALLENGES AHEAD
14:00 – 17:30, room P7C050, Paul-Henri Spaak building, European Parliament
In October 2008 the EU granted Belarus a six-month “grace period”, temporarily lifting a visa ban on state officials. The change of policy was meant to encourage development of democracy and respect for human rights in the country. The EU is to review Belarus’ progress in April 2009, and decide whether to re-impose restrictions or expand its links with the Belarusian government. The debate organised in the European Parliament provides a forum to evaluate developments in Belarus since October 2008 and to discuss steps the EU can take in relations with Belarus after the April review.
Belarusian authorities reacted to the EU’s decision with enthusiasm and have hitherto made some, albeit limited, progress towards greater political openness. But will that be enough to justify the expansion of contacts with the current regime in Belarus? And will the Belarusian government be able, and willing, to continue the liberalisation process after April 2009?
The Parliamentary Group of the Party of European Socialists in the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Group of the European People’s Party (Christian Democrats) and European Democrats in the European Parliament in cooperation with the Office for a Democratic Belarus and the Pontis Foundation are pleased to invite you to take part in the debate that will bring together representatives of Belarusian NGOs, Members of the European Parliament, senior officials of the EU Council and the European Commission, as well as other interested parties. The debate will be preceded by a presentation of a ‘Monitoring Report on Developments in Belarus, October 2008 – January 2009’ prepared by the Belarusian International Implementers Meeting (BIIM).
Please find a draft programme of the event here.
We kindly ask you to confirm your participation before March 2. For those who need an entrance badge for the European Parliament, please send your name and date of birth to Keith Azzopardi: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Office for a Democratic Belarus