Conferences and Briefings on Belarus

Mon, 2013-06-10 11:23

Translated by ODB

On May 29 a panel discussion was held in Minsk on visa liberalization between the Eu member states and Belarus. During the event, experts from Belarus (Andrey Eliseev, an analyst at BISS), Ukraine (Iryna Sushko, head of the organization "Europe without barriers") and Poland (March Yaroshevich, senior researcher on migration and visa issues, the Center for Eastern Studies) presented their views and research results on the topic. The participants discussed the prospects of simplification of the visa regime between the EU and Belarus, the expectations of Belarus for visa facilitation and readmission agreements, and were acquainted with the experiences of Ukraine on visa facilitation negotiations.  Iryna Sushko, in particular, noted: "In 2010, Ukraine received the action plan for visa liberalization, assuming compliance with the technical criteria which covered over 50 sectors of the state policy. If the European Union considers the implementation of these reforms to be successful, Ukraine may be granted a visa-free regime." The event also included a discussion by Ukrainian experts on the visa dialogue between Belarus and the EU. The Council of Europe has invited Belarus to the negotiations on visa regime two years ago but so far, the process has not taken further steps. 

Tue, 2013-02-26 10:50

An Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) Election Task Force, made up of election and civil society experts from Eastern Partnership and EU countries, was launched in Yerevan at the occasion of Armenia’s presidential elections on 18 February. The purpose of the Task Force during its visit to Armenia was to learn in-depth about the observation activities of the Armenian National Platform of the Civil Society Forum, and to assist the latter in the presentation and dissemination of its findings and conclusions.
Over the course of a week, the CSF Election Task Force, composed of eight individuals from Belarus, Georgia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Austria and the UK, advised local CSOs in their observation of the electoral process and exchanged best practices. Task Force experts held meetings with a range of political parties, civil society organisations, media and representatives of the diplomatic community in Yerevan, as well in the regions.

Fri, 2012-12-14 14:27

By Natalia Yerashevich, Director of the Steering Committee of the EaP Civil Society Forum

The fourth assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum was held in Stockholm, Sweden on 29-30 November 2012. The event gathered over 200 civil society activists from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine as well as representatives of EU-based NGOs active in the region. The Forum opened with an address by European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle, followed by a discussion with the audience. In his opening remarks at the Forum, Commissioner Füle outlined the political agenda of the Eastern Partnership until the next Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November 2013: “If the reform process is accelerated and we maintain the current pace of negotiations of Association Agreements, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas with the Republic of Moldova, Georgia and Armenia, then the prospects of finalising these negotiations by the time of the Vilnius Summit in November 2013 are good. I also believe that the Vilnius Summit could see the signature of Association Agreement, including the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, with Ukraine. But to make it happen, the European Union’s firm commitment to pursue political association and economic integration with Ukraine needs to be mirrored by determined actions of the Ukrainian government and the new Parliament to address well know and oft repeated concerns.“ He added that the process of political association and economic integration of partner countries with the EU requires strong involvement and support from civil society. Therefore, the EU has encouraged partner countries' governments to establish a regular structured dialogue with representatives of civil society.

Wed, 2012-11-07 23:04

7 November 2012
Today, on the invitation of the Office for a Democratic Belarus, Natallia Pinchuk, spouse of the imprisoned human rights defender Ales Bialiatski and Maryna Adamovich, wife of the former presidential candidate Mikola Statkevich, who was jailed after the 2010 presidential elections, visited Brussels.
The aim of the trip was to inform key decision-makers in the EU institutions about the state of health and the conditions in which all Belarusian political prisoners are being held. The delegates appealed to the European community to keep the high level of attention to the problems of Belarus: in first instance, support the struggle for freedom of those punished for their political convictions and participation.

Spouses of Bialaitski and Statkevich were received by the European Parliament’s President Martin Schulz and the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle. They met with key EEAS officials and took part in a joint meeting of the Committee of Human Rights (DROI) and the Delegation on Relations with Belarus in the European Parliament. Pinchuk and Adamovich thanked the EU representatives for solidarity and help in efforts to free their husbands and other political prisoners who remain behind the bars.

Wed, 2012-11-07 21:52

Martin Schulz, EP President meets with wives of Belarusian political prisoners Ales Bialiacki and Mikola Statkevich: - arrival and roundtable

Thu, 2012-10-25 12:33

By Elena Shuba

On 12 October, the Analytical Centre on Globalisation and Regional Cooperation (Armenia) hosted a conference entitled “Contacts between people: EU visa policies towards the Eastern Partnership countries”. The event was organised in cooperation with the Stefan Batory Foundation (Poland) and the Coalition for the European Continent Undivided by Visa Barriers and was supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. During the conference successes and challenges of the EU Eastern Partnership (EaP) initiative together with the prospects and barriers for visa facilitation and liberalisation for the EaP countries were presented and discussed. The event gathered experts from both EU and Eastern Partnership countries, Armenian students, media and civil society representatives.

Mon, 2012-08-27 13:42

While meeting with a group of reform-minded activists from Belarus in Tallinn on August 27, the Foreign Minister of Poland said that Belarusian civil society should be more active in implementing the European Dialogue for Modernisation and target not only CSOs but also members of the current administration. Minister underlined the importance of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (EaP CSF) and the currently registered European Endowment for Democracy as instruments for participation and support to the Belarusian civil society - among CSOs from other countries of the Eastern Partnership block.

Tue, 2012-07-17 10:27 early 2008, the Office for a Democratic Belarus (ODB) has been actively involved in promoting easier visa regime for Belarusians. In February 2008, the ODB joined the European Parliament campaign initiated by three MEPs:  Genowefa Grabowska (PL), Justas Vincas Paleckis (LT) and Hannes Swoboda (AU). The ODB actively supported the campaign, elaborated its slogan “Say YES to Cheaper Visas for Belarusians” and visual symbols. Our office also helped distributing a declaration calling for reduction of Schengen visa costs for Belarusian citizens among MEPs during the Parliamentary sessions in Strasburg and Brussels.

Fri, 2012-06-29 15:50 June 6, 2012 the meeting of the Working Group 1: Democracy, Human Rights, Good Governance and Stability of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum (CSF) took place in Brussels with more than 60 representatives attending from of all six EaP countries, as well as from some EU member states. Konstantinos Vardakis welcomed the participants on behalf of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and spoke of the most recent assessment of the Implementation of the European Neighbourhood Programme. Monica Bucurenciu from the European Commission’s Development and Cooperation DG (DEVCO) updated the audience on the Civil Society Facility instrument. 191 concept notes were received in January, she said: 37 of them were pre-selected for the next round, 17 of which will be supported for projects in countries of the Eastern neighbourhood.


Fri, 2012-06-22 00:00

One year ago, the Belarus policy community lost one of its brightest stars, Vitali Silitski, director of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS). To honour his memory, Carnegie hosted a discussion of the current situation in Belarus with Tatiana Kouzina of BISS, Sergej Satsuk of Ezhednevnik, the first Belarusian electronic newspaper, and Olga Stuzhinskaya of the Office for a Democratic Belarus, a Brussels-based NGO. Balazs Jarabik, of Kyiv-based office of Pact, Inc., introduced the panel. Carnegie’s Matthew Rojansky moderated. The trip was supported by USAID
Honoring Vitali Silitski