EU invites Belarusian opposition to Eastern Partnership summit
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in his speech at the Vienna Conference dedicated to Belarus that the Belarusian democratic forces would have the right to vote at the Eastern Partnership summit. According to him, such events “provide an important platform for the Belarusian opposition”. He added that “the Belarusian opposition in exile must remain true to the cause and stay united”. Maas believes that Western countries should adjust their assistance to the Belarusian civil society and opposition. As it becomes increasingly impossible to support activities in Belarus, the EU must intensify its work with those in exile. He mentioned that Germany is revising its Action Plan for Belarusian Civil Society worth 21 million euros. In addition, Heiko Maas noted that the European Commission presented a package of economic support in the amount of 3 billion euros for the “future democratic Belarus”.
Minsk suspended its participation in the Eastern Partnership in June in response to the imposition of EU sanctions. The meeting of the foreign ministers of the Eastern Partnership countries was held on 15 November 2021 without the participation of Belarus. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell posted a photo of an empty chair next to the “Belarus” sign. He wrote that this symbolized the firm willingness of the European Union to support the Belarusian people.