Democratic elections, release of political prisoners would give impetus to development of relations between Belarus and EU

The diplomat expressed hope that the Belarusian authorities would make good on its promise to hold democratic and open...

A democratic parliamentary election and the release of political prisoners would “give a new impetus to the development of relations between Belarus and the European Union,” French Ambassador Mireille Musso told reporters in Minsk on July 10.

Mireille Musso The diplomat expressed hope that the Belarusian authorities would make good on its promise to hold democratic and open parliamentary elections later this year. This would send the EU “a strong signal” and make it possible “to strengthen relations not only between Belarus and the EU but also among the international community in general,” Ms. Musso said.

She stressed that the international community would draw its conclusions “not just from the voting day but from the entire election campaign.”

The ambassador noted that the EU would study candidate registration, candidates’ access to the media and campaigning opportunities.

In addition, Ms. Musso said that representatives of various political parties and movements should be included in the lineup of district election commissions and all domestic observers should be allowed to monitor the vote regardless of their political views.

The ambassador welcomed Minsk’s readiness to invite international observers for the elections.

A democratic ballot would allow the European Union and Belarus to discuss the latter’s involvement in the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP), which envisages both financial aid and joint projects in various spheres, Ms. Musso said, expressing hope that Belarus would be included in the ENP before the end of this year. “This is my biggest wish to the Belarusian people,” she said.

Ms. Musso said that the restoration of Belarus’ trade benefits under the Generalized System of Preferences was a separate matter and would be considered after an appropriate recommendation from the International Labor Organization.