PES backs EU action on Belarus

PES backs EU action on Belarus

European leaders today agreed to levy sanctions on those responsible for violence, suppression and the falsification of the election in Belarus, and agreed 53 million euros of aid to go directly to the Belarusian people. 

PES President Sergei Stanishev said:

“We socialist and democrats stand in solidarity with all those campaigning peacefully for their rights in Belarus. The presidential election was not free and fair, and now there must be a peaceful dialogue which moves the country towards a future based on democracy and respect for civil and human rights. 

“The European Council took the right decision today. The weight of Europe must be applied to bring a peaceful dialogue to fruition. Targeted sanctions are a necessary step to support a democratic and free Belarus.  

“I strongly commend Albanian Prime Minster Edi Rama for offering to mediate a dialogue between the Lukashenko government and the opposition. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which Prime Minister Rama currently chairs, must play a central role in the dialogue for peace and democracy in Belarus. We are continuing to monitor this situation very closely.”

Earlier this month the PES condemned the political repression in Belarus and called for EU sanctions on those responsible. We commend the efforts of EU High Representative Josep Borrell on this issue. We also support the positions of the foreign ministers from the PES family, the Lithuanian Social Democrats, the S&D Group in the European Parliament and many others socialist and democrats who have pushed for action.

The European Council also discussed the ongoing illegal activity of Turkey in the Mediterranean, and will revert back to the issues at its next meeting.

Sergei Stanishev commented:

“Turkey must stop illegal oil and gas drilling. Socialist and democratic prime ministers, commissioners and leaders have expressed strong concern about this for some time. International law must be upheld. We stand with Greece and Cyprus against this economic aggression.”

At the last PES European Council preparation meeting, socialists and democrats criticized Turkey’s intention to press ahead with illegal offshore gas and oil exploration off Cyprus and several Greek islands. The PES also discussed the issue at its meeting in December.