A leading Member of the European Parliament is organizing a debate with the aim to invalidate the decision not to open an office in Brussels to represent the Belarusian opposition by the assembly’s president, David Sassoli, who was reportedly advised to do so by the EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell.
Last October, the democratic opposition movement in Belarus led by Svetlana Tikhanovskaya was awarded the EU assembly’s annual Sakharov Prize for Human Rights.
The head of the National Anti-Crisis Management in Belarus (NAM) Pavel Latushka came up with the idea of having a representative office for the Belarusian opposition. NAM was put in place in October 2020 with the aim of conducting a peaceful transfer of power in Belarus, which includes organizing new elections. However, NAM will no longer have any power once a “new president of Belarus is inaugurated.”
Polish MEP Andrzej Halicki is now gathering colleagues to revise Sassoli’s decision. Halicki has obtained the support of 100 colleagues from various political groups within the Parliament.
In December 2020, Halicki asked Sassoli in a letter to “make a brave step in this process and to create a Sakharov Prize Community Office” in the EU assembly that would serve as a representation for the Belarus opposition in the EU institutions.
However, in a letter sent in late January but only received on Monday, Sassoli replied, stating that “it is not in the institutional realm to support any political opposition of a country by creating a representation office for them within the European Parliament.”
Halicki has promised to overturn the decision.