The EU must stand #WithBelarus

Dear Vice-President Josep Borrell, dear Commissioner Olivér Várhelyi,

We, as citizens of Europe, ask you not to take your eyes and your pressure off the regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus.

We note your joint statement in which you view the election of 9 August and the brutality that has followed in its wake with concern, and condemn the violence that has taken place, and we thank you for being quick to voice this position.

However, we ask you now to commit the EU commit to Belarus not just now while it is trending on social media and flaring up in the news cycle, but that the EU commit to a European and democratic future for Belarus regardless of how the ongoing protests go.

We hope that you will advocate in the strongest possible terms to use targeted sanctions against those in Belarus who commit acts of violence against their own, and continue to enforce them until there is real change. 

We demand that you openly ask, and continue to ask for Alexander Lukashenko to accept the need for free and fair elections in Belarus, with independent observers, and the release of Belarus' political prisoners. 

We ask that you will commit to an EU Foreign Policy in the Eastern Neighbourhood and in Belarus that continues to promote, defend, and sustain our values and the EU's reputation as a beacon of democracy and human rights, with real repercussions when these values are not adhered to.

Finally, we ask you to be clear that the founders of the European project envisioned a European Union whole and free, and that the prospect of eventual membership is also something open to the people of Belarus. There will be accession criteria to follow of course, and much work to be done, but the Belarusian electorate woke up in a real way this last week, and we write to remind you that it is your duty as European leaders to give them hope. 

Thank you for reading our plea, and please do not let us or our compatriots in Belarus down.

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