Belarusian society to make informed choice about European future, says Deputy Secretary General

On 23 February, Mrs Maud de Boer-Buquicchio made an introductory speech on the place of Belarus in democratic Europe at the conference organised in Prague by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

The Deputy Secretary General stated that, while the Council of Europe wanted its standards and human rights protection mechanisms extended to Belarus, the Organisation is not seeking to impose a model of Government on Minsk. Nevertheless, before it can become a member, Belarus will have to accept the Council of Europe statutory values and membership commitments.

Speaking on the forthcoming presidential election in Belarus, Mrs de Boer-Buquicchio emphasised that freedom of the media is indispensable for holding free and fair elections.

“Before and beyond the elections”, she said, “the Belarusian society must be able to freely receive independent information in order to shape their own opinion about the situation in the country and the added value of being a member of the Council of Europe.”