It has been stated by Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, Vice-Chairman of the Delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly.
The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly is most likely invite members of the Belarusian opposition and civil society, Euroradio (the European Radio for Belarus) was told by Jacek Saryusz-Wolski.
The European Parliament is set to invite the whole spectrum of the political opposition ranging from Communists to Christian Democrats as well as representatives of NGOs, including ethnic and religious minorities, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, deputy chairman of the European Parliament's delegation to the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly.
"(We are going to invite) the whole spectrum of political parties: Communists, Socialists, Christian Democrats, Movement for Freedom, Belarus Popular Front, United Civic Party, etc. We will also invite some segments of the civil society, including independent trade unions, Belarusian Association of Journalists as well as religious and ethnic minority groups that are under pressure", Jacek Saryusz-Wolski stated.
According to Saryusz-Wolski, consultations on some parties and NGOs are yet to be finalized, so invitations have not been sent out yet.
All the representatives of Belarus will not have a status of full-fledged delegates. They will be observers. They will have almost all the rights of delegates, except the right to vote. Actually, there is no big difference, stresses Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, because Euronest is a consultative assembly, not a decision-making body.
Syarhei Maskevich, chairman of the “House of Representatives’” Foreign Affairs Standing Committee, told the European Radio for Belarus that he knew nothing about the decision on 10 observers from the Belarusian parliament. If it actually happens this way, it will put Belarus' participation in the Eastern Partnership under threat.
When the European Radio for Belarus quoted Maskevich as saying to Saryusz-Wolski, he said: "We don't recognize the Belarusian "House of Representatives". Nobody is expecting them to agree. Actually, they don't have to".
In 2009, Europeans were in talks with official Minsk over the participation of the Belarusian delegation in Euronest in the 5+5 format (five MPs + five opposition representatives). But the Belarusian side had rejected this proposal.
We remind that the decision about 10 observers representing the democratic opposition from Belarus was adopted by the last European Parliament. It is based on non-recognition of the legitimacy of the Belarusian “parliament” by the EU and the European Parliament. Basing upon the conclusion of the OSCE/ODIHR. “The parliamentary election” held in Belarus in autumn 2008, like the previous ones, was recognized by the international community as not free and not fair.
As said by Saryusz-Wolski, it is unlikely that the decision of the Euronest presidium on 10 observers from Belarus would be changed. Consultations of partner countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova and Ukraine – are yet to come. But the entire document on the Euronest should be discussed, and Belarus’ participation won’t be the main issue there.
The Euronest Parliamentary Assembly is planned as a forum to analyze the events related to the Eastern Partnership initiative. Except 10 representatives of Belarus, there will be 60 seats for MEPs and 10 seats for deputies of national parliaments of the Eastern Partnership member states: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
We remind that the main aims of the Eastern Partnership are economical integration of the countries into the European community, facilitating visa regime and border control, increase of trade cooperation.