EU Lawmakers Officially Meet Belarusian MPs FIRST Time In 14 Years

Five EU lawmakers will meet Belarusian government, opposition, and civil society leaders in Minsk on 18-19 July, TUT.BY reports.

According to one of the European MPs, the meeting with Belarusian counterparts is the first official contact between the legislative bodies in 14 years.

The agenda of the visit includes EU-Belarus relations, human rights and electoral reform.

The delegation, that includes lawmakers from Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Germany, has met with the Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei on Tuesday morning.

Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei and a member of the European delegation Andrejs Mamikins.

The sides openly discussed the most “sensitive” issues, including Human Rights problems, the ministry reported following the talks.

Later on, the European politicians visited the House of Representatives.

Belarus is interested is developing relations with th EU, Deputy Chairman of the House of Representatives Boleslav Pirshtuk said afterwards. He added the meeting was the first official contact between Belarusian MPs and MEPs ever.

The interesting fact about the current delegation is that three of its members are known as the supporters of a softer policy towards Russia and Belarus. Belarusian opposition had thus stated that it does not expects any “valuable position” from them.

The European Parliament is known for its tougher stance on human rights in Belarus than the European Commission.

For a long time there were no formal contacts between the European Parliament and lower house of the Belarusian Parliament as MEPs did not  recognize the latter as legitimate.

See also: Belarus FM Reveals Obstacles That Prevent Simplification Of Visa Regime With EU

After the 2016 parliamentary elections and the appearance of two opposition candidates in the House of Representatives, some EU countries, including Poland and Germany, resumed formal contacts with the Belarusian government body.