"If we see no concrete progress on the way to democratization, then the process of the EU rapprochement with Belarus should be stopped," Jerzy Buzek stated.
In this way the president of the European Parliament commented on the decision of the Council of Europe to extend visa sanctions against Belarusian officials till October 2010 and at the same time "freeze" them.
"It must be the last chance for Lukashenka’s regime,"Jerzy Buzek is quoted by the Polish Radio as saying.
Earlier the president of the European Parliament stated that "the progress in Belarus is really very little, and we are highly concerned that there is no pronounced democratization". Mr Buzek underlined that the EU would cooperate with the Belarusian opposition as well, as they share democratic values, and promised that the EU would bear pressure on the Belarusian authorities in order to make them move in the direction of democratic freedoms and respect of human rights.
Independent experts also say that the sanctions against the Belarusian regime shouldn’t be lifted completely. In an interview to "Deutsche Welle" the head of Bureau of Conrad Adenauer Foundation in Vilnius Stefan Malerius stated that official Minsk hasn’t implemented reforms Brussels expected from it. He reminded that the period of sanctions’ extension and their freezing now includes the supposed date of local elections in Belarus, April of the next year, that means that the EU would have an opportunity to make conclusions about the process of democratization of the country basing upon this election campaign.
"They are to become a so-called acid test for Lukashenka and the Belarusian government, and show whether the statements about wish and readiness to amend the electoral legislation, for instance, had just demonstrative character," the German expert is convinced.
As said by Mr Malerius, the decision of the EU to partially freeze the sanctions again cannot be viewed as encouragement to official Minsk, because previously all the highest persons of the country called upon the EU to lift all the restrictions against Belarus. "In such a situation Lukashenka cannot feel a winner or awarded," the expert notes.
On November 17 the Council of the European Union adopted a decision to extend visa sanctions against official Minsk till October 2010. At the same time these sanctions are frozen till October.
In the adopted resolution foreign ministers of the EU call upon the Belarusian authorities to respect freedom of the press, association and assembly, to reform the electoral legislation and impose moratorium on death penalty. Ministers also express regret over inadequate reforms Belarus over the offered period of time.