Updated at 17:46,10-07-2018

EU Commissioner Stefan Füle Met with Opposition Leaders

Mariya Kavalyova, news portal www.UDF.BY

On Thursday night, the Commissioner for EU Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Füle met with leaders of the Belarusian opposition.

The meeting with the European Commissioner was attended by the Chairman of the "Fair World" Party Syargei Kalyakin, the leader of the campaign "Speak the Truth!" Uladzimir Nyaklyayeu, the former presidential candidate Alexander Kazulin, the coordinator of "Charter 97" Andrei Sannikau, the chairman of the Belarusian Social Democratic Party (Narodnaya Hramada) Mikola Statkevich, the leader of the movement "For Freedom" Alexander Milinkevich, the chairman of the BPF Alexei Yanukevich, the co-chairman of the unregistered BCD Party Vital Rymasheuski, and the deputy chairman of the United Civil Party Yaraslau Ramanchuk.

The talk of the EU Commissioner with the politicians lasted more than two and a half hours and was very informative, said Syargei Kalyakin to the news portal www.UDF.BY. According to the leader of the Belarusian left, during the meeting, a range of issues were touched upon: the current human rights situation in Belarus, the existence of political prisoners, the upcoming presidential elections in the absence of conditions for holding democratic elections, and development of EU relations not only with the Belarusian government but also with civil society.

As Syargei Kalyakin said, participants of the meeting had a frank exchange of views in an informal atmosphere on the development of relations between the EU and Belarus under the actual political conditions.

"In my opinion, the Commissioner knows the situation in Belarus thoroughly and understands why relations between the EU and Belarus are not developing", said the politician.

According to him, Stefan Füle mentioned the European Commission's proposal on yet another attempt to break the deadlock on the relationship between Belarus and the European Union. As Kalyakin explained, it should be two-way traffic, rather than regular concessions and preferences given to the Belarusian side.

"This is another act of goodwill on the part of the EU. However, it will be accompanied by
a clear message to the Belarusian government that the EU does not intend to promote the relations and give preferences unilaterally, but is ready for equal interest and concessions of both sides."

Syargei Kalyakin also noted that, according to the representative of the European Commission, "Belarusian" issues will be considered with the participation of representatives of the republic.

"Neither, for example, the European Union nor Russia should make any decisions regarding Belarus without participation of Belarusians", added the Belarusian leader of the Left.

Another key issue of Stefan Füle's meeting with the opposition leaders was the simplification of visa regime for the Belarusians. According to Mr. Kalyakin, the Commissioner understands the importance of simplification of entry into the EU "outside the contexts of all other agreements between the EU and Belarus".

"The Commissioner will make every effort for this issue to be resolved. But it is difficult, because the decision must be supported by the 27 EU countries", said the politician.