EU reiterates strong support to Belarusian civil society

An informal EU-led international donors’ coordination meeting on Belarus is taking place in Brussels today, on 21 March. A Commission press release said the meeting, aimed “to stimulate discussions among donors and with representatives of the Belarusian civil society,” is being held in the wake of an earlier announcement that the European Commission would increase its direct support for Belarusian civil society fourfold for the period 2011 – 2013.

Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Stefan Fule, who is taking part in the discussions, said the meeting would provide “an important opportunity to further demonstrate our solidarity with the population and civil society of Belarus. It will help ensure that the international assistance provided in this difficult period, is focussed, targeted and supportive.”

The meeting is a follow-up to Warsaw’s “Solidarity with Belarus” international donors’ conference in February this year, where Commissioner Fule announced that the Commission was quadrupling its aid to Belarus civil society and would offer urgent support to victims, raising the total EU funding targeting Belarusian population to ˆ 17.3 million for 2011-2013.

The donors' coordination meetings on Belarus makes up a donors’ platform that has been successfully used several times a year since 2006, the press release said, adding it has built “a valuable expertise on donors coordination and the link with the Warsaw conference should lead to a more efficient and effective support to meet the needs of Belarusian civil society.”

Invitees include all EU member states, international organisations and other international donors, as well as Belarusian civil society representatives.

In a separate development, European Foreign Ministers added 19 Belarus officials to the lists of persons subject to restrictive measures, including travel ban and assets freeze. Council Conclusions said this was done “in view of the gravity of the situation in Belarus.” (ENPI Info Centre)


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