Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2012-10-26-Speech-5-031-000"

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". Madam President, I am afraid I was held up in traffic and arrived late to this debate. I would be grateful if you could allow me the minute and a half allotted to my political group. Once again, we have witnessed a parliamentary election in Belarus that was no such thing. What was new, however, was President Lukashenko’s cynical recommendation that Europe could learn a thing or two from this electoral manipulation. Fortunately, the days of such hubris are numbered, even if this dictator has followed the example of North Korea and already marked his youngest son out as his successor to the throne. Events in Moscow leave me questioning, however, whether Mr Lukashenko really is Europe’s last dictator. Unfortunately, 10 seats in the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly remain empty, as we cannot tolerate the presence among us of representatives of a parliament that has no legitimacy. The Foreign Ministers have extended the sanctions against the regime, which is the right thing to do. We must be careful, however, that these measures are not undermined. There are around a dozen known agents who acquire foreign currency via private and bogus firms and organise exports and foreign investment, the proceeds of which end up in the dictator’s pockets. Instead of an entry ban for the regime’s supporters, we should adopt arrangements facilitating visas and travel for the Belarusian people. The appeal and attraction of a Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning European Union will not be lost on Belarus. However, we should avoid giving Mr Lukashenko’s truncheon-wielding lackeys the opportunity to practise dispersing mass demonstrations, as we succeeded in doing in Germany. The ‘soft power’ we can exert should also include targeted economic sanctions – which means, for a start, that Lufthansa must cease its maintenance of President Lukashenko’s government jet."@en1

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