Conferences and Briefings on Belarus

Wed, 2012-03-07 14:54

Dear Mr. Minister,
we refer to you with a proposal and appeal to support further steps to promote people-to-people contacts and facilitation of ties between our countries, Lithuania and Belarus.
We strongly appreciate statements of Lithuanian officials declaring openness of Lithuania to Belarusians, as well as the repeal of fee for Lithuanian national visa, although it only applies to a rather narrow category of Belarusian citizens.

Nevertheless, these steps are not enough for a real change to happen in terms of contacts between citizens of Lithuania and Belarus, something we believe to be of key importance to influence situation in today’s Belarus towards democratic transformations.

Mon, 2012-03-05 12:25


http://www.eap-csf.eu/assets/templates/default_tpl/images/logo.pngMarch 2, 2012 Minsk, Belarus

We, the members of the National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum, express our deep concern at the diplomatic conflict between the authorities of Belarus and the European Union. The situation that has emerged is only a conflict tip, grounds for which have been created by Belarusian authorities’ actions of dispersal of the demonstration on December 19, 2010 and through subsequent repressions against the Belarusian political opposition and civil society. We consider the reaction of the Belarusian authorities to address the decision of the Council of the EU to expand the list of Belarusian officials, to whom the visa restrictions have been applied, as unbalanced and harmful one for Belarusian national interests. We also expect the European Union to further implement a coherent and forward-looking policy towards Belarus, not limited to the response to the steps of the Belarusian leadership. The EU should demonstrate its adherence to the principles, not only in the position, but also in action, and to make further steps towards engagement of Belarus as a neighbouring country into the European family, even under adverse conditions. The rapid, fundamental and clearly positive step would be in such a situation a total abolition of consular fees for visas for Belarusian citizens to EU countries.

Representatives of the Belarusian civil society, members of the National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum are convinced that the solution to the essentially important issues of reforming and modernisation of the country and turning it back to the network of the European communities, may lay the basis for negotiations and overcoming the existing conflict between the authorities of Belarus and the European Union.

Wed, 2012-02-08 12:59

The initiative voiced by the ODB to fine-tune the criteria of applying the EU visa ban lists to Belarusian officials spread a wide discussion in Belarusian electronic media including Nikolai Khalezin and 'Charter 97', who presented it through the mixture of distorted evidence and unfounded accusations, all shaped in the most inappropriate way. But there were also other opinions expressed on the popular Belarusian web-sites and in some other sources. Bellow, we present a translation of an article initially published on Belarusian Radio Svaboda web-site by political analyst Yury Drakhahrust.

Wed, 2012-02-08 12:14

http://euroradio.fm/files/imagecache/in_report/83563.jpgWe propose to review the list of the 'banned' individuals carefully. The list may need to be extended to include new names, but the underpinning criteria should be treated with caution. When Mr Hunnar Wiegand (Head of the European Commission's Unit for Relations with Russia as well as the acting director for Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus, and Central Asia)  was reported to state that the EU was planning to extend the list to include further 135 names, and we thought that the mere extension of the list would bring about a new outburst of repressions in Belarus which would cause further suffering to political prisoners, political parties and the Belarusian civil society at large.

Thu, 2012-02-02 10:11

Given that considering economic sanctions is a longer process, there are Belarusian organisations and individuals who believe that revising the list of Belarusian officials under the visa ban may facilitate an earlier release of the remaining political prisoners. 

Due to the worry about the fate of the political prisoners the Office for a Democratic Belarus (ODB) voiced to the EU institutions an opinion to revise the names on the current visa ban list. The Office suggested those who could be regarded as potential candidates for exclusion.  ODB believes that revision of the list will send a credible signal that the EU stays flexible in its policy of promoting change in Belarus and does not try to isolate Belarus as a whole. Simultaneously ODB suggested adding names to the visa ban list of those involved into Ales Bialiatsky's case and responsible for repressive legislative amendments recently adopted.


The list of revised names including those suggested for exclusion and addition was done in consultation with Belarusian and international civil society groups whose names can only be disclosed with their agreement”.

Mon, 2012-01-16 11:01

http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofile-ak-snc4/276125_618626266_1145577_n.jpgOlga Stuzhinskaya, the director of the Office for a Democratic Belarus (Brussels) spoke on the prospective of the EU-Belarus relations to Meabh McMahon, a journalist from the www.euoserver.com

Video
Summary


When speaking on the current EU-Belarus relations, Ms Stuzhinskaya noted that one can observe the disappearance of the remaining ‘European islands’ in Belarus. The EU is not on the agenda of the Belarusian government; there are new agreements signed with Russia leading to more political and economic integration of the two countries.

Thu, 2011-12-08 00:52

The expert conference “Transforming Belarus: ways ahead”, jointly organised by the Research Centre “Carnegie Europe”, “Office for a Democratic Belarus” and the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS), took place on the 7th of November, 2011 in Brussels. The event was part of the ongoing debates series “Listening to citizens in the countries of the Eastern Partnership”.  The expert forum on Belarus had two panels. Experts in the first panel conducted an analysis of the strategies of the major geopolitical players in the region - the EU and Russia - towards Belarus. The second panel was devoted to the economic situation in the context of a systemic crisis and renewed subsidies from Russia, as well as major trends in public opinion.

Thu, 2011-12-01 11:51

http://www.eap-csf.eu/assets/templates/default_tpl/images/logo.pngA new 17-member Steering Committee was elected at the annual meeting of the Civil Society Forum, which took place in Poznan, Poland, on 28-30 November 2011. The Steering Committee is elected for a one-year term. Six country facilitators were elected (one from each of the six partner countries), eight working group co-ordinators (one EU and one partner country representative for each of the four working groups). Finally, in a plenary session, three EU co-ordinators were elected by the whole Forum.

Tue, 2011-11-22 11:08


Dear Colleagues and friends,

Carnegie Europe, the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS), and the Office for a Democratic Belarus have the honour of inviting you to a joint event,"Transforming Belarus: Ways Ahead".

Wednesday, December 7, 2011
2:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Carnegie Europe
15 Rue du Congrès
1000 Brussels, Belgium


This expert forum will discuss the European Union's policies on Belarus in the context of the latest developments in the country. European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Füle, will present his views on existing EU policy towards Belarus and its prospects for success.

Fri, 2011-11-04 11:06

STATEMENT
ON DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BELARUSIAN NATIONAL PLATFORM
OF THE EASTERN PARTNERSHIP CIVIL SOCIETY FORUM

Minsk, 1 November 2011
We, representatives of Belarusian civil society organizations, express our support to the idea of the National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum as a platform for communication and dialogue among CSOs interested in the European path of development for Belarus.

We share the values and goals stated in the “Memorandum on Cooperation within the National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum” that was discussed and adopted by the organizations- participants of the conference of the National Platform on October 29, 2011. We underline that activities of the National Platform of EaP SCF need to be focused on the "Europeanisation" and modernization of the country.
    
However, we are worried about the tendencies for possible politicization of the National Platform and its transformation into another political actor (in particular, such aim is present in the “Strategy 2012”). We believe that the Belarusian National Platform’s activities should concentrate on the work of the four thematic groups, as it is organized within the Civil Society Forum and the National Platforms of CSF in other countries of the Eastern Partnership. Through activities in the framework of these groups, civil society organizations will be able to increase their expert capacity and propose ways and mechanisms for Belarus to  approximate its standards and norms with those of the EU.

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