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Belarus should have a European perspective

Joint appeal of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Pavel Latushka, the Coordinating Council and representatives of democratic forces to the EU

H.E. Charles Michel.

President of the European Council

Brussels, Belgium

Dear Mr. President,

The Member States and governing bodies of the European Union will soon decide on the applications for EU candidate status for three new states: Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. We call upon the EU and all its members to approach this process with full understanding of the commitment of these countries to the European project and to support their applications and to reflect in the final document a European perspective for Belarus following democratic change.

Among these states, Ukraine occupies a special place because it has courageously fought a just war to defend its sovereign right to freely choose its alliances, a right that Russia flagrantly denies not only to Ukraine but also to the EU. To uphold this fundamental principle, to set a precedent that no country can veto, and to recognize the role of the Ukrainian people in protecting the security of Europe, we believe that Ukraine should be granted candidate status without delay.

This endorsement would maintain the momentum in keeping Europe whole, free and at peace. Ukrainians today are not only defending Europe from Russian aggression. Their bravery, resilience and determination will ensure that they win the war. The prospect of EU membership will help Ukraine win the peace that defines the future of the entire region. An independent and democratic Belarus needs a Ukraine that successfully wins and defends its statehood, identity and sovereignty. Similarly, Ukraine needs a sustainable peace order that includes predictable neighbors who will actually guarantee its security and whose policies will be guided by national interests based on international law. This means that Belarus must have a European perspective, which should also be recognized by the EU.

Throughout history, Belarus has participated in and contributed to the development of European civilization. Belarusian cities were governed according to the Magdeburg Law; in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Statute of 1588, a code of laws written in the Belarusian language, introduced the principles of the rule of law and the separation of powers. Numerous attempts to cut Belarus off from Europe have failed, because it is contrary to our national interests.

An illegitimate and illegal regime is trying to undermine our statehood and to destroy our national identity, but Belarusians retain a strong sense of belonging to the European family. Work is underway to institutionalize Belarus' participation in the Council of Europe to prepare for responsible democratic governance and full membership. Since the 2020 revolution, we have been steadily expanding our relationship with the EU as a natural ally of a free Belarus.

We clearly see the prospects of partnership with the EU, which will be decided by the Belarusian people after the restoration of democracy in our country. As we work towards this moment, we are aware of the breadth of reforms that Belarus needs to undertake in order to restore democratic governance, and we are preparing these steps for the New Democratic Belarus. At the same time, as the EU considers applications from our region, now is the right time to also recognize and reaffirm the European perspective for Belarus. This will be the basis for conversations and decisions about the forms of interaction between the Belarusian people and the EU, paving the way for the maintenance of a secure, democratic, prosperous Europe.


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