22 January 2018, Monday, 10:58

Raman Yakaukeuski: EU shouldn't dance to Minsk's tune


Brussels begins to agree with official Minsk's position in spite of assurances of EU officials.

Political observer Raman Yakauleuski discussed Kupchyna's visit to Brussels with charter97.org.

“Judging by statements by certain EU officials and politicians, the problem of political prisoners, which Belarus denies, is the main obstacle to the start of the normalisation of the bilateral relations. In my view, Kupchyna's visit to Brussels demonstrates the start of this process, though official reports don't mention the issue of political prisoners. The European side says its stance hasn't changed. I think it's not true. The EU's position is transforming. Especially after Statkevich's statement, in which he said he is not Khodorkovsky and won't apply for clemency,” he said.

The observer notes the meetings Kupchyna had in Brussels give grounds to suppose she has more power than just a deputy foreign minister.

“What stands out is that Kuchyna's visit to Brussels coincided with a round-table discussion that wasn't widely announced. We learnt the names of the participants only after the discussion. The 'super-expert' format of discussions seems to suit both official sides. To all appearances, it was held in the office of the EU Delegation to Belarus. The participants were both officials from the foreign ministry and Belarusian 'experts', who have a position close to official Minsk's stance. We can notice in the MFA's official press releases that Kupchyna had meetings with Vice President of the European Parliament Jacek Protasiewicz, who is known for his critical position on Minsk's policy, and other representatives of the European Parliament. It would be logical to think that the EP level supposes that the Belarusian side is also represented on the parliamentary level. But the EU doesn't consider the Belarusian parliament legitimate. There's a question if the EU's position has changed. We don't have any explanations,” Raman Yakaulesuki said.

The political observer says “Little information about Kupchyna's visit to Brussels from both sides may mean the position of Brussels is transforming in the direction of the unchanged position of official Minsk in spite of all assurances of EU officials.”

“We don't know details, but the process of softening the abnormal relations is under way. The process is the acceptable for the Belarusian side, because it, in fact, means the selective approach to Belarus. We talk if there's progress and don't talk if there's no progress. Actually, it shows the EU agrees with the position of official Minsk that trading and economic relations, not fundamental European values, such as human rights, freedom of speech, etc, have priority. This trend is acceptable for Belarus. Will it help the EU's prestige? I am not sure completely,” Raman Yakauleuski said.

We remind that Belarusian deputy foreign minister Alena Kupchyna held talks with European politicians in Brussels yesterday. According to official reports, the key issue of the visit was the official start of the talks between Belarus and the European Commission on easing visa regulations.