Situation in Belarus, release of political prisoners and support for the civil society were the main issues raised during the meeting of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya. He emphasised that Poland supports Belarusians and respects the independence of their country.
Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya was a candidate for president in the 2020 presidential election. Currently, she is in Lithuania, where she decided to go after the announcement of the results under pressure from Belarusian authorities.
During the meeting, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya thanked for the support and pointed out that Belarusian society needs to know that they have an alternative. She added that
all countries, including Poland, may help with what is happening in Belarus through their actions.
We are building international support for the transformations in Belarus
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki actively participates in building international support for democratic transformations in Belarus. He is in regular contact with the leaders of the EU Member States and governments.
Poland borders on Belarus and it feels responsible for its neighbours. Fundamental changes are taking place east of the border, to which Europe cannot be indifferent. Belarusians have overcome their fear and they have shown the entire world that they want to belong to the Europe of free, democratic and law-abiding nations. The Polish government supports these efforts.
Prime Minister Morawiecki sent a letter to the President of European Council Charles Michel and the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen just after the announcement of the exit poll results of the Belarusian presidential election. He called for convening an extraordinary summit of the European Council with regard to the events taking place in Belarus. The entire European Union considered the results of the election in Belarus to be unreliable and pointed out that the election needs to be rerun.
‘United with Belarus’ Plan
The Polish government carries out a number of activities supporting the efforts of the Belarusian nation to establish democracy.
Poland is home to all those Belarusians who need help – as part of our ‘United with Belarus programme, we strive to support this voice of freedom said the head of the Polish government.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki presented the plan of Polish solidarity with the Belarusian society. It is based on three pillars such as safety, openness and solidarity. Its aim is to provide assistance to all victims and their families, to facilitate the crossing of the border to repressed persons and to provide support to Belarusian non-governmental organisations, independent media, teenagers and students.
To implement this programme, the Polish government will allocate PLN 50,000,000 in the first year. This amount will provide additional funds, apart from those that Poland allocates to other programmes associated with Belarus, e.g. Belsat television.
‘Poland. Business Harbour’ Programme – opportunity for Belarusian companies
Another programme, entitled ‘Poland. Business Harbour’, is being launched by the Polish government. Its aim is to provide support to enterprising Belarusians operating in the ICT sector. The programme provides a comprehensive set of tools and services, promoting the success of Belarusians in Poland based on knowledge, modern standards and close commercial relations with neighbours and the world. It is based on the assumption that success achieved by Belarusian entrepreneurs in Poland will translate into the success of modern Belarus.
This comprehensive support package will help freelancers, start-ups, SMEs and large companies easily relocate to Poland. The programme coordinators are the Ministry of Development and the Polish Investment and Trade Agency. GovTech Polska at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, the Polish Agency for Enterprise Development and the Startup Hub Poland foundation are also involved in this initiative.
Handing over the keys to the new seat of the Belarusian House in Warsaw
The head of the Polish government also participated in the meeting between Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and Belarusian minority. In Poland, there are several Belarusian organisations, institutions, media, and non-governmental organisations. They support the democratic activity in Belarus. The Belarusian House in Warsaw, combining the environments of a number of Belarusian opposition organisations, is an example of such an activity. During the meeting, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki handed over the keys to the new seat of the Belarusian House at 6 Kryniczna Street in Warsaw. This is another measurable example of such support.
‘We express our solidarity with the Belarusian nation. Let these keys to the Belarusian House be the symbol. It is a gift from the Polish nation to the Belarusian nation,’ said the Prime Minister.
The head of the government referred to the forty-year-old tradition of „Solidarność” in Poland and emphasised that the goals pursued by Belarus are close to our hearts.
Meeting at the University of Warsaw
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya also met with students at the University of Warsaw. ‘The programme named after Konstanty Kalinowski, our common hero, was launched within these walls. It has already attracted a thousand of Belarusian students, who still cherish the hope that Belarus will be a free, democratic and independent country,’ pointed out the head of the Polish government.
The Prime Minister noted that Poland has a long tradition of fighting for independence and thanked everyone for providing support to Belarus above political divisions. We can be successful only if we fight together. That’s what matters in the end,’ added Morawiecki.
Belarusian House in Warsaw
This is the only centre of Belarusian life in Warsaw. It was founded after the events of 19th December 2010 when thousands of Belarusians took to the streets in Minsk to protest against electoral fraud. It was established by the representatives of two Belarusian democratic movements: ‘O Wolność’ (‘For Freedom’) Movement and European Belarus Movement, who came to Poland as a result of political persecution.
This institution supports democratic organisations in Belarus and functions as an information centre. Thanks to its wide range of activities, it is also called ‘an independent embassy of Belarus’.
It was previously located at Wiejska Street in Warsaw.