Procedure : 2015/2834(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0866/2015

Texts tabled :


Debates :

Votes :

PV 10/09/2015 - 8.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0866/2015

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure

on the situation in Belarus in the light of the upcoming 2015 presidential elections (2015/2834(RSP))

Cristian Dan Preda, Arnaud Danjean, Bogdan Andrzej Zdrojewski, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Sandra Kalniete, Elmar Brok, Andrej Plenković, Gabrielius Landsbergis, Jerzy Buzek, Michael Gahler, Tunne Kelam, Andrzej Grzyb, David McAllister, Jaromír Štětina, Barbara Kudrycka, Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Jiří Pospíšil, Pavel Svoboda, Ramón Luis Valcárcel Siso on behalf of the PPE Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Belarus in the light of the upcoming 2015 presidential elections (2015/2834(RSP))  

The European Parliament,

–       having regard to its previous resolutions and recommendations on Belarus,

–       having regard to the release of six political prisoners by the authorities on 22 August 2015,

–       having regard to the upcoming presidential elections due to take place on 11 October 2015,

–       having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.     whereas despite the intensification of contacts between Belarus and the EU and the United States, positive change with regard to human rights and democracy in Belarus has still to be observed;

B.     whereas cases of pressure on and intimidation of human rights defenders persist in Belarus, with police raids and the seizure of equipment of human rights organisations, as well as the forceful removal from Belarus of activists, still an everyday occurrence;

C.     whereas the authorities still use the practice of administrative prosecution of freelance journalists working with foreign media without accreditation, with several cases having been documented during the last months;

D.     whereas Belarus remains the only country in Europe to carry out capital punishment;

E.     whereas on 2 April 2015 President Lukashenko signed Decree No. 3 ‘On the prevention of social dependency’, which provides for compulsory labour for unemployed persons under the threat of payment of a special fee to the state budget or administrative liability in the form of a fine or administrative arrest;

F.     whereas the first official visit since 2002 of the EP’s Delegation for relations with Belarus took place on 18-19 June 2015 in Minsk;

G.     whereas progress has been made in sectoral cooperation in the areas of higher education (the Bologna process), vocational training, the digital market, the energy sector, food safety and culture, among others;

H.     whereas Belarus’s involvement as facilitator in the attempts to find a resolution to the conflict in Ukraine has been positively assessed;

1.      Remains deeply concerned by the human rights and fundamental freedoms situation in the country, as well as by the shortcomings observed during previous elections by independent international observers;

2.      Welcomes the release of the remaining political prisoners and considers this to be potential progress towards improving relations between the EU and Belarus; calls on the Belarusian Government to rehabilitate the released political prisoners and to fully restore their civic and political rights; recalls that past opportunities for improving relations did not materialise as steps taken by the authorities in Minsk were strictly of a tactical nature; expresses its hope, therefore, with reservations, that this time the action will be followed by measures providing solid grounds for a breakthrough in bilateral relations;

3.      Stresses the need for Belarus to conduct the upcoming presidential elections in accordance with internationally recognised standards, to give the opposition unfettered access to all government-controlled means of communication and to allow it to participate in the elections on an equal footing;

4.      Expects that the authorities stop the harassment of independent media for political reasons; urges them to stop the practice of administrative prosecution and the arbitrary use of Section 2 of Article 22(9) of the Administrative Code against freelance journalists for working with foreign media without accreditation, thereby restricting the right to freedom of expression and the dissemination of information;

5.      Recalls that ten people have been executed in Belarus since 2010, with three executions in 2014 alone and a new death sentence handed down on 18 March 2015; in this context urges Belarus, the only country in Europe still applying capital punishment, to join a global moratorium on the execution of the death penalty as a first step towards its permanent abolition;

6.      Calls on the Government of Belarus to respect the recommendations of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on the abolition of elements of forced labour in the country;

7.      Calls on the Belarusian authorities to ensure, in all circumstances, respect for democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms, in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the international and regional human rights instruments ratified by Belarus;

8.      Reiterates its call on the Commission to support, with financial and political means, the efforts of Belarusian civil society, independent media and non-governmental organisations in Belarus to fulfil the democratic aspirations of the Belarusian people;

9.      Recognises the progress that has been made in sectoral cooperation in the areas of higher education (the Bologna process), vocational training, the digital market, the energy sector, food safety and culture, among others;

10.    Recognises the increase in the use of the Belarusian language in public life; notes the Ministry of Education’s plans to foster the use of the Belarusian language in education, as well as the publication of legislative acts by the Constitutional Court in both Russian and Belarusian;

11.    Is determined to continue to contribute, also through the EP Delegation for relations with Belarus, to the EU’s policy of ‘critical engagement’ towards Belarus;

12.    Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR), the EEAS, the Council, the Commission and the Member States.

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