Op de 50e verjaardag van de EU vierden de Witrussen hun onafhankelijkheid. Met duizenden confronteerden zij de knokploegen van het regime met vlaggen van Europa en de verboden vlag van hun eigen land. president barroso gaf bij die gelgenheid de volgende verklaring af met een oproep aan de mensen in Belarus te blijven strijden voor hun vrijheid en democratie, samen met Europa.
Fifty years ago today, in Rome, the visionary idea of a unified Europe truly started to become a reality. Since then, this vision has fundamentally transformed the European continent. Where, before, a cycle of destructive wars was deeply entrenched, now peace and prosperity have become the rule. A unique pole of stability and democracy has emerged, based on respect for national identities, and on reconciliation, freedom and solidarity. The EU has also emerged as a global actor in its own right. We Europeans are rightly proud of this.
On this important day for Europe, and indeed, for Belarus, I would like to emphasize these significant achievements of the European Union, which are inextricably based on the deep-rooted values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, and to reiterate to the people of Belarus that the European Union is ready to enter into a full partnership with Belarus on the basis of these values and towards these goals. I hope that we will soon see a willingness to move in this direction. Such a partnership would mean that the European Union`s assistance to Belarus could be significantly increased and would thus help improve the quality of life of Belarusians.
I am confident that the people of Belarus sees this outstretched hand as an opportunity to choose a democratic future, and I very much hope that the government of Belarus will reciprocate, beginning the reforms their people need and ending their self-imposed isolation.
I look forward to the day when Belarus takes its rightful place in a European family that shares the values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law, and that yearns for longlasting shared peace and prosperity.
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