7 Dec 2022 20:46

EU allocating funds to support civil society in Belarus

BRUSSELS. Dec 7 (Interfax) - The European Commission has announced on Wednesday that a new program to aid civil society, students, scientists and professionals in Belarus worth 25 million euros was endorsed.

The statement released by the European Commission explains the objectives covered by the allocated funds.

Firstly, funds are provided to "civil society activists to promote democratic changes and human rights in Belarus." The European Union believes that thanks to this aid, they would be "able to continue their work despite the very difficult context on the ground."

Additionally, financial aid is provided to students and professionals "in accessing modern quality education, training and learning opportunities, including through a scholarship program and by facilitating contacts between Belarusian and EU-based professionals and organizations."

According to the statement, with the EU's support, over 520 students from Belarus are currently receiving scholarships and about 800 persons are participating in online training to strengthen their professional skills. Belarusians can also apply for short-term professional exchanges, research fellowships and grants.

"This new assistance will fund another 450 scholarships, 500 professional exchanges and provide additional educational opportunities. This program brings the total support to the people of Belarus to over 30 million euros in 2022," the statement said.

In August, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said that the EU would lift sanctions imposed on Belarus and enact a plan of economic support to the country worth 3 billion euros as soon as it transitions to democracy.

Mass protests against the results of the presidential elections, in which Alexander Lukashenko, in office since 1994, was declared the winner, continued for more than six months in Belarus after August 9, 2020. The opposition did not recognize the election results.