Headline of the Day

Poland’s government will present the EU with a “Marshall Plan” for Belarus that would offer the country economic support if it agreed to void last month’s contested elections and instead hold a free and fair vote.

The plan will be presented on behalf of the Visegrad Group of countries, which includes Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia as well as Poland. Later this week, Polish-Lithuanian intergovernmental discussions about the situation in Belarus are also due to take place. It is then hoped that Poland’s prime minister, Matuesz Morawiecki, will present the plan at the next meeting of EU heads of state.

However, the Polish government admits it may face an uphill struggle to gain support. “Unfortunately, not all countries in the EU show as much empathy [regarding Belarus] as Poland, the Baltic states, and the countries of our region,” said Michał Dworczyk, the head of the prime minister’s office, today.

Dworczyk, however, hailed the approach of the domestic opposition, saying that today’s meeting, which lasted over three hours, was “very fruitful”. All political forces in Poland agree on supporting “the sovereignty of Belarus, which consequently gives security and stability for Poland”, Dworczyk added.

But he acknowledged that the one party that had the strongest “divergence of views” from the others is the far-right Confederation (Konfederacja), the smallest of Poland’s parliamentary groups. Its leaders have previously urged a more restrained approach to Belarus.

The Polish government has been active in expressing support for the Belarusian opposition, who are currently protesting President Alexander Lukashenko’s proclaimed re-election last month amid widespread evidence of vote rigging.

Last week, Lukashenko’s opponent in those elections, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, met with Morawiecki in Poland during her first trip abroad since going into exile in Luthuania.

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