"Belarus has learned from the Finnish experience of planning nuclear power plants," Belarussian MP Mikhail Rusy told a meeting in Vilnius on Tuesday. He also mentioned the possibility of a referendum about nuclear power, a statement met with scepticism by several other participants in the meeting.
Nordic, Baltic and Belarus politicians met for roundtable talks in the Lithuanian capital on Monday and Tuesday. The purpose of the third meeting in the series organised by the Nordic Council is to promote democracy and dialogue between the opposition and regime in Belarus, often referred to as the last dictatorship in Europe.
The Director of the Nordic Council, Jan-Erik Enestam, reported back on the process adopted for building the fifth nuclear power plant in Finland. He stressed that major role played in the process by the general public and organisations.
Belarussian plans from nuclear plants arouse strong feelings, especially due to the Chernobyl accident some two decades ago The opposition has demanded insight into the process as well as information about the planned plant. According to Rusy the government has lived up to demands for openness but the opposition view the situation differently.
"After hearing about the process in Finland I can confirm the total lack of similar democratic opportunities to exert influence in Belarus," said opposition politician Sergej Kalyakin.
Nordic office in Minsk?
The meeting also discussed the role of the Nordic Region in Belarus. Many of those present favoured setting up a Nordic information office in the capital city, Minsk, for example. The Nordic countries currently run joint offices in the Baltic states and in Russia.
Many of the politicians at the meeting also thought that the Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) and the Nordic Environment Finance Corporation (NEFCO) should be engaged in environmental projects in Belarus.
At the end of the meeting, the parties agreed to try and arrange for the next roundtable talks to be held in the Belarussian capital.
Torkil Sorensen, Senior Advisor
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Patrik Edman, Communications Adviser
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