European Parliament: We Didn’t Invite Belarusian MPs
A working group on forming the Eastern Partnership Parliamentary Assembly has its first meeting in the building of the European Parliament on January 14.
The meeting focused on the principle of representation of the EU national parliaments in the initiative.
Belarus was represented by Syarhei Maskevich, the head of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Ties with the CIS of the House of representatives, and Nina Mazai, the head of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and National Security of the Council of the republic.
However, this does not mean that the European Parliament has recognized the Belarusian parliament as legitimate, Euroradio learnt from a source in this European institution. The meeting was organized by the Swedish Parliament, not by the European Parliament. Invitations were sent by Goran Lennmarker, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Swedish Parliament.
"This meeting was organized by the Swedish Parliament. The fact that it took place in the building of the European Parliament was simply a technical issue of having a venue. Indeed the European Parliament has little to do with this event," the EP representative says.
When asked why opposition leaders were not invited, the source said that this issue was decided by the Swedish side, i.e. the European Parliament had nothing to do with this decision.
We remind that the European Parliament does not recognize Lukashenka’s National assembly as legitimate, because the 2008 parliamentary elections were not recognized free and fair.
Various European countries have different views on the invitation of Belarusian MPs to EURONEST.
"Parliamentarians from several EU member countries do not agree that the delegation of Belarus should comprise the members of the Belarusian parliament. Their national parliaments will not endorse this concept. The European Parliament does object to this concept as well. But, the European Parliament is not directly linked with this issue," the EP representative said.
The meeting on January 14 was attended by representatives of the UK, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden and Spain. Lithuania spoke against the participation of the Belarusian MPs.
There are several options for Belarus to participate in EURONEST. Firstly, MPs only can be part of the Belarusian delegation. Secondly, there could be both MPs and representatives of the opposition (5+5). The third option is that Belarus is represented by opposition politicians only.
However, any participation of the opposition would be of status significance only, inviting Belarusian MPs would mean that EU values are disregarded.
"Inclusion of representatives of the official Parliament only in the Eastern Partnership Parliamentary Assembly would mean recognition of the falsification system in Belarus," politologist Yury Chavusau thinks.
Taking the final decision on the Belarusian delegation to Euronest is expected within the next several weeks. On January 21, this issue will be discussed by the president of the European Parliament, leaders of political groups and one independent MEP.
EURONEST's founding conference is preliminary scheduled for March 2010. There will be 60 seats for MEPs and 10 seats for each of the Eastern Partnership member states: Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.