The Belarusian National Platform was founded in July 2010 and Belarus was the second Eastern Partnership country after Armenia to establish a National Platform.
The Belarusian National Platform is organized differently than the National Platforms of other EaP countries which is also due to the different situation within the country and the limited participation of Belarus within the Eastern Partnership. The Belarusian National Platform is therefore organised without any Working Group coordinators at the national level, but with a Coordinative Council consisting of seven members to better manage the activities of the National Platform. Furthermore, the National Platform aims at organising at least three meetings of all National Platform participants each year in the form of conferences or round tables. Members of the National Platform are civil society organizations (NGOs, initiatives, associations) who signed the Memorandum of cooperation.
The National Platform faces numerous challenges in expanding its role and activities due to the limited participation of Belarus in the Eastern Partnership and unsolved political problems in the relations between the EU and Belarus as the existence of political prisoners, repressions against representatives of opposition, Civil Society and independent media, and some others. Despite these problems local civil society organisations see the Eastern Partnership and other formats of cooperation between the EU and Belarus as promising opportunities to bring reforms and positive social and political development to the country.
Activities of the Belarusian National Platform in 2013
The Coordinative Council of the Platform adopted a position paper in March 2013 with the title “How to increase the transformational potential of the European Dialogue on Modernisation with Belarusian society?”. In the paper the Platform reaffirmed its full support for the Dialogue but drew attention to necessary changes in order to improve the functioning of the Dialogue. The position paper is available here.
Activities of the Belarusian National Platform in 2012
The conferences of the National platform represent a key format communication within the National Platform by bringing together its members for discussion and exchange of opinions and experience.
The first Conference of the National Platform in 2012 took place in Minsk on 29-30 June and the seven members of the Coordinative Committee of the Platform were elected by an open vote of all participants. Furthermore, the strategy for the development of the Platform was discussed and the platform adopted resolutions “On the release of political prisoners”, “On the European Dialogue on Modernization with Belarusian society” and “On ensuring the freedom of the electoral process”.
On 16 November 2012, the National Platform adopted the “Concept of Development of the Belarusian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum” during its second conference in 2012. At the conference, the participants adopted a resolution declaring their intention to promote the expansion of EU-Belarusian cooperation and identified the attitude and actions of the Belarusian authorities – including holding political prisoners, repression of social and political activists and the absence of the will to launch a visa dialogue with the EU as well as on small cross-border movement – as the main obstacle to such cooperation.
Involvements of the National Platform in European Initiatives
Members of the Belarusian National Platform managed to be prominently involved in two key initiatives in 2012: the Belarusian Public Bologna Committee and the European Dialogue on Modernization with the Belarusian society.