EU Allocates €24 Million For Direct Support To Belarusian Civil Society

On 11 December, the European Union has allocated €24 million to support Belarusian civil society, youth, business and healthcare, the statement by the European Commission reads.

The European Commission adopted a €24 million assistance package, which will benefit directly the Belarusian people. It will particularly be provided to civil society, youth and small and medium-sized enterprises, and for improvement of health capacities.

The immense courage of the Belarusian people who peacefully mobilised to defend their democratic and human rights is an inspiration for us all. With this newly adopted support package, the EU is making it clear that it stands on the side of the people of Belarus and delivers on its commitment to step up support to civil society.

We also stand ready to support a democratic and peaceful transition in the country with all tools and instruments at our disposal,” Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi explained the decision.

The new assistance programme will focus on four key areas:

  1. Support [€8 million] to civil society and independent media, and bloggers, as well as to local communities and citizen groups’ initiatives, human rights activists;
  2. Support [€8 million] to youth, including through a scholarship programme for students and young professionals affected by the political crisis, and further support of European Humanities University;
  3. Advisory support [€4 million] to small and medium-sized businesses to build up resilience in the present economic downturn.
  4. Improvement of health resilience [€4 million] by strengthening the capacity of Belarusian society to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The programme is reportedly part of the €53 million support package announced in August by the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. It also includes €3,7 million EU emergency support mobilised for the victims of repression and independent media. Also, further support to facilitateaccess of small and medium-sized businesses to €6 million is under consideration.