EU candidates and European perspective for Belarus. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Belarusian democratic forces sent a letter to the EU leadership

His Excellency Charles Michel
President of the European Council
Brussels, Belgium

Dear Mr. President,

The European Union Member States and governing bodies will soon decide on the applications to grant the EU candidate status to three new states: Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine. We urge the EU and all its members to approach this process with a full appreciation of these nations’ commitment to the European project and support their applications, as well as to reflect in the final document a European perspective for Belarus after democratic changes.

Among these states, Ukraine has a special standing, as it is courageously fighting a just war to defend its sovereign right to freely choose alliances, the right that Russia bluntly denies not only to Ukraine but to the EU as well. To uphold this fundamental principle, to set the precedent that no country can veto it and to recognize the role of the Ukrainian people in defending the security of Europe, we believe that Ukraine should be granted the candidate status without delay.

The approval will uphold the momentum in preserving the Europe whole, free, and at peace. Ukrainians are not only defending Europe from Russian aggression today. Their bravery, resilience and resolve will ensure they win the war. The prospect of EU membership will help Ukraine win the peace defining the future for the entire region. An independent and democratic Belarus needs Ukraine that successfully prevails and defends its statehood, identity, and sovereignty. Similarly, Ukraine needs a sustainable peace arrangement that includes predictable neighbors who will genuinely guarantee its security, whose policies are driven by national interests based on international law. This means that Belarus needs to have a European perspective, which should also be acknowledged by the EU.

Throughout history, Belarus participated in and contributed to the development of European civilization. Belarusian cities were governed by the Magdeburg law, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania Statute of 1588 – the code of laws written in Belarusian – introduced the principles of the rule of law and division of powers. Numerous attempts to cut Belarus from Europe failed as this contradicts our national interest.

The illegitimate and illegal regime tries to undermine our statehood and destroy our national identity, but Belarusians retain a firm sense of belonging to the European family. Currently, work is underway to institutionalize Belarusian participation in the Council of Europe to prepare for a responsible democratic governance and for a full-fledged membership. Since the revolution of 2020, we have steadily expanded relations with the EU as the natural ally of a free Belarus.

We clearly see the prospects of a partnership with the EU that will be decided by the Belarusian people once democratic governance in our country is restored. As we work to bring this moment closer, we realize the breadth of reforms Belarus needs to implement to restore democratic governance, and we are preparing these steps for a New Democratic Belarus. At the same time, as the EU is considering the applications from our region, it is the right moment to also recognize and confirm the European perspective for Belarus. This will form the foundation for the conversation and decisions about the forms of engagement between the Belarusian nation and the EU, paving the way to upholding a safe, democratic, prosperous Europe.

CC:

  • Heads of EU Member States
  • President of Ukraine
  • President of Moldova
  • President of Georgia
  • H.E. Ursula von der Leyen
  • President of the European Commission
  • H.E. Josep Borrel Fontelles
  • Vice-President
  • High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy
  • H.E. Olivér Várhelyi
  • EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement
17 June 2022 в 17:30