Andrei Sannikov: Energy cooperation of Belarus with Europe broken down due to repressions against opposition
-Mr. Sannikov, what was the purpose of your visiting Brussels?
-Purpose of my visit was to provide information about the European March preparations, opposition appeal to the authorities for maintaining the dialogue on peaceful holding of the European March, about the situation in Belarus in general, about the current relationship of the European Union with the official Minsk.
I informed the representatives of the European Commission and Council of European Union that the European March idea and propositions on cooperation within the European March frame are shared by all the democratic forces of the country: political parties, public society and human rights organizations and intelligentsia.
Certainly, the issues related to decreasing of visa costs for Belarusians were discussed. The agreement with influential international non-governmental organizations on their lobbing of this issue for Belarusian citizens was reached. Particularly, it was suggested as the first step to decrease visa costs for youth.
- Did you dwell upon the Belarusian authorities actions on the eve of the European March?
-The authorities started implementing the same plan which was regularly applied in the past as well as this year. Activist were arrested in compliance with the compiled lists for making people scared and for isolating the most active supporters of the democratic development of Belarus. Moreover, it happened during the absolutely peaceful and non-confrontational action. I asked the EU representatives to pay their special attention to the above-mentioned fact.
It is to be mentioned that charges with swearing in public places, disorderly conduct and other false allegations do not confuse anybody in Europe. And the facts when people are detained for using the European visual aids cause sharp indignation. And I believe that official representatives of Belarus both in Brussels and other Belarusian embassies refer to the latest arrests as the amateur actions of militia. They try to persuade the Europeans that those things happened without the republican authorities’ sanctions.
- How do the Europeans respond to the forthcoming European March?
-Representatives of the European Commission and the Council of European Union reported about raising the issues of the European March to be peacefully conducted in their not numerous contacts with the official Minsk representatives. They are ready to make public declarations on the might-be perspectives to be opened by the European March.
As it became known the senseless repressions against activists of the democratic moment in Belarus have already broken down the energy security issue discussion between Belarus and European Commission. The arrival of the European Commission delegation for studying the Belarusian authorities’ viewpoint was scheduled for early October. But it was cancelled due to the latest repressions.
- And what is the attitude to the very idea of the European March and the offered dialogue?
-Great interest to the development trend offered by the democratic forces for Belarus: improvement of relations with Europe through the intra-Belarusian dialogue was felt at the meetings in Brussels .The European March is also of great interest and everybody whom I met spoke of their readiness to follow the procedure of preparation for the European March and respond to it correspondingly. The Europeans also confirmed their stable and unanimous viewpoint regarding the political prisoners and their immediate release. However if that doesn’t happen nobody will reconsider the list of non-grata Belarusian officials and cross their name out.