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Parliamentary questions
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16 October 2020
E-004691/2020(ASW)
Answer given by Mr Várhelyi
on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-004691/2020

The EU has been following the preparation, the conduct and the aftermath of 9 August 2020 Presidential elections in Belarus closely and with increasing concern. The informal Foreign Affairs Council(1) on 14 August 2020, as well as the European Council(2) on 19 August 2020 concluded that the 9 August 2020 Presidential elections were neither free nor fair. The EU has expressed clear solidarity with the people of Belarus in their desire to exercise their fundamental democratic rights and it condemned the disproportionate and unacceptable violence displayed by the state authorities against peaceful protesters.

As the country has been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19 the EU has put forth an emergency package of EUR 50 million to support health, small and medium-sized enterprises and vulnerable groups. This will come in addition to an earlier delivery of personal protective equipment totalling EUR 2.8 million — provided through the World Health Organisation — which has already reached beneficiaries in Belarus, including patients and front line health workers throughout the country.

Taking into account the situation in the country, the Commission services are working on the precise delivery modalities for this assistance package so that it reaches those most in need. The funds to be allocated for this purpose will not be channelled through government institutions. Assistance is expected to focus on the liquidity of small and medium-sized enterprises, on mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare system, as well as on support to vulnerable groups and civil society.

(1)https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/fac/2020/08/14/
(2)https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2020/08/19/conclusions-by-the-president-of-the-european-council-following-the-video-conference-of-the-members-of-the-european-council-on-19-august-2020/
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