Welcome from the Chair

Welcome to the website of the European Parliament's Delegation for relations with Belarus (D-BY).

The Delegation was established in 1994, shortly after Belarus regained its independence. Currently, the European Parliament does not have official relations with the Parliament of Belarus, due to the country's repeated failure to conduct free and fair elections and to fulfil international standards for democracy and the rule of law, as illustrated by the wave of protests and their brutal crackdown following the November 2019 parliamentary elections and the August 2020 presidential election.

Nevertheless, the Delegation maintains an active and close dialogue with representatives of the country's political forces, independent non-governmental organisations and civil society actors.
Regular meetings were held in Brussels and Strasbourg to discuss the evolution of EU-Belarus relations, and to assess the political and economic situation in the country as well as the latest developments regarding democracy, human rights violations and the rule of law. Besides, the Delegation travelled to Minsk in June 2015, in July 2017 and, at Bureau level, in October 2018 and in February 2020. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the majority of the Delegation's activities have been conducted online.

In recent years, Belarus engaged in a dialogue with the IMF, the EIB and the EBRD, and initiated reforms aimed at facilitating its future accession to the WTO. The country made some progress in the protection of the environment and in public governance, and initiated an EU-Belarus Human Rights Dialogue. Since 2016, the EU-Belarus relations were governed by the principle of "critical engagement" stipulating that tangible steps taken by Belarus to enshrine fundamental freedoms, the rule of law and human rights will remain essential criteria to shape the EU's future policy towards this country. Visa facilitation and readmissions agreements entered into force on 1 July 2020 with an objective to foster people-to-people contacts.

However, in light of the rigged presidential election of August 2020, continued worsening of the human rights situation and refusal of the Belarusian authorities to engage in a constructive, national dialogue to find a peaceful way out of the political crisis while safeguarding Belarus' independence and sovereignty, an exhaustive review of these relations is urgently needed.

In this challenging context, I look forward to helping create - through the activities of our Delegation - the potential for a positive change for the people of Belarus.

Juozas Olekas