Lukashenka says he supports EU
Alyaksandr Lukashenka said that he supported the European Union while he was meeting with Belgian Deputy Prime Minister/Foreign Minister Didier Reynders in Minsk on March 15.
“The European Union is a very powerful pole together with China and the United States,” Mr. Lukashenka said, according to the presidential press office. “The European Union is a strong pillar for the planet. If it stops existing, we will be in trouble. That is why I oppose all your Brexits and nationalistic movements. It is necessary to preserve the European Union whatever it takes.”
According to Mr. Lukashenka, he is in favor of a multi-polar world and opposes double standards, “which the EU can sometimes be seen using.”
“I would like the European Union to correspond to the declarations that it offers to the entire world: honesty, decency and democracy,” he said. “If you closely looked at Belarus, you would see human rights, democracy, public order and security here. Just like you, we have weaknesses, but it is necessary to have discussions and be closer to each other. If you have experience, it is necessary to share it. We are willing to learn [from you.] But I am asking you to remember that sovereignty and independence are sacred to us.”
Mr. Lukashenka said that Mr. Reynders’ visit was symbolic and a lot depended on it with regard to both Belarusian-Belgian relations and Belarus` relationship with "the EU empire."
“I can guarantee you that our country will always work for unity and stability in Europe,” he said. “We did not create problems for you in difficult times and will never create them in the future.”
Mr. Reynders’ visit is taking place amid mass arrests of people protesting Alyaksandr Lukashenka`s April 2015 decree that imposed a so-called parasite tax on non-workers.
According to Belarusian human rights defenders, more than 100 peaceful protesters have been arrested in the country since March 3.
On March 12, Maja Kocijancic, spokesperson for the European External Action Service, called for the immediate release of the detained protesters.
“The detention and sentencing of peaceful protesters, including leaders of opposition movements, is in contradiction with Belarus’ declared policy of democratization,” Ms. Kocijancic told BelaPAN. “The European Union is committed to a stable, democratic and prosperous future of Belarus, for the benefit of its people, and will continue its work with this objective firmly in mind.”
On March 13, Andrea Wiktorin, head of the EU Delegation to Belarus, avoided criticizing the Belarusian authorities for the recent arrest but said that the diplomatic mission would continue paying close attention to the situation in the country.