Updated at 11:25,18-04-2018

Poland will support Belarusian civil society, foreign minister says


Poland will continue supporting civil society in Belarus, Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said while presenting a report outlining this year`s foreign-policy goals in Poland`s Sejm (lower parliamentary house) on March 20.

He said that thanks to Poland`s efforts, an EU fund to the tune of €37 million had been set up "with the civil societies of the six Eastern Partnership countries in mind." In addition, he said, Warsaw advocates making the Erasmus for All education program "fully available to thousands of students from these countries."

Mr. Sikorski said that support would be offered to Belarusian civil society via the European Endowment for Democracy. "We are glad that we were successful in our efforts to establish the Endowment, and that a Polish candidate - Jerzy Pomianowski - was chosen as its first director," he noted. "Such initiatives are evidence of our determination to maintain and develop civil society dialogue - especially in unwelcoming political environments."

The minister stressed that Poland aspired to achieve visa-free travel for the citizens of Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova and Russia. He added that the number of Polish visas issued to citizens of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine increased from 534,000 in 2008 to 1.3 million last year.