Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Belarus

Delivered in Plenary - 12th May 2011

Mr President

I will be talking about Belarus and not Hungarian domestic politics. It is 20 years since the Soviet Union collapsed, but for President Lukashenko of Belarus it is as if nothing has changed at all. Political repression is as rife as it ever was in the Soviet days, and Lukashenko’s secret police – provocatively still called the KGB – are used as its enforcers.

As we remember from the post-election protests in December last year, Lukashenko is intolerant of dissent and seems to take pleasure in using violence and intimidation against pro-democracy activists. As this resolution today illustrates in graphic detail, Lukashenko has intensified his campaign for persecution and harassment against those who dare challenge his iron-fisted rule. We call on him to end this futile crackdown, to release all political prisoners and instead to restore Belarus to the path of genuine, pluralist, multi-party democracy.

At last week’s constitutive session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly, representatives from Belarus were rightly missing. Belarus is the missing piece of Europe’s democratic jigsaw puzzle, and I long for the day when it rejoins the European family.