25 May, 2021

Europe’s Liberals urge EU leaders to act on Belarus

Following the unprecedented and illegal hijacking of the Ryanair Athens-Vilnius flight to kidnap journalist Raman Protasevich and his girlfriend Sofia Sapega, the ALDE Party launched a petition demanding the European Union to impose severe sanctions on Belarus.

In under 24 hours, over 1,600 supporters, including liberal leaders from across the continent, signed the petition and helped boost the political debate around the issue.  

Moreover, the ALDE Party’s acting co-Presidents Senator Timmy Dooley and Ilhan Kyuchyuk MEP issued a statement condemning this horrid action by Lukashenko’s regime and called for joint EU action as well as for the release of all passengers, including Pratasevich. See the full statement here.

The EU leaders gathered in Brussels on 24 May for a special European Council Meeting during which they adopted a series of conclusions which are closely aligned with our demands:

  • Demand for the immediate release of Raman Pratasevich and Sofia Sapega and their guaranteed freedom of movement
  • Call for the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to urgently investigate this unprecedented and unacceptable incident
  • Invitation to the European Council to adopt additional listings of persons and entities for possible sanctions
  • Call for the European Council to adopt further targeted economic sanctions and invitation to the High Representative and the EU Commission to urgently submit proposals to this end
  • Call for all EU-based airlines to avoid Belarus airspace 
  • Prohibition of access to EU airspace and airports for Belarusian airlines, including Belavia 
  • Expression of solidarity with Latvia following the unjustified expulsion of Latvian diplomats

This crucial topic was also discussed at the Renew Europe Pre-Summit that took place on 24 May ahead of the European Council Summit. The ALDE Party was represented by acting co-President Ilhan Kyuchyuk.

On 25 May, Renew Europe President Dacian Cioloș announced that the Group has called for a debate and a resolution on this topic to take place at the European Parliament.

Photo Credit: European Union - European Council Meeting on 24 May

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