From Wed Feb 12 11:00:12 2003
Subject: ICFTU online: European Parliament resolution on Belarus
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2003 15:54:57 +0100
From: ICFTU Press <>
To: ICFTU Online <>

European Parliament backs union call for investigation in Belarus

ICFTU online ..., 12 February 2003

Brussels, 12 February 2003 (ICFTU OnLine): Supporting the international trade union position, the European Parliament (EP) adopted Tuesday in Strasburg an amendment text on Belarus which calls for an investigation and, if necessary, suspension of the country from the European Union's Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) due to violations of core labour standards. The amendment was proposed at the EP's monthly Plenary Session by the PES group (Socialist) in support of an initiative by the international trade union movement.

The EP resolution on relations between the EU and Belarus calls, among other issues, on the Belarus authorities to respect trade union rights, and in particular the right of association guaranteed under the ILO conventions ratified by Belarus. The resolution also calls on the EU Commission to initiate an official investigation into freedom of association in Belarus and, on the basis of this investigation, if necessary, to implement the procedures for temporary withdrawal of GSP trade preferences.

On 31st January the ICFTU, along with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the World Confederation of Labour (WCL), called on European Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy to initiate an enquiry into violations of trade union rights in Belarus under the GSP procedures. It pointed out that the violations of fundamental rights in Belarus are totally incompatible with the stipulations of the European GSP. The trade union organisations argued, It is the responsibility of the international community to use all the instruments it has at its disposal to underline to the President and to the Government of Belarus that fundamental principles and values, which include human and trade union rights, have to be respected.

The trade union call for an enquiry following the GSP procedures takes advantage of the recent addition of several new core labour standards to the criteria under which the EU grants additional trade preferences to third developing countries. The issue will be debated next in the GSP Committee of EU member states' representatives, chaired by the European Commission.

Link to the European Parliament resolution on relations between the European Union and Belarus: towards a future partnership:|APP@PV2|TYPEF@TITRE|YEAR@03|Find@%62%65%6c%61%72%75%73|FILE@BIBLIO03|PLAGE@1&TYPEF=TITRE&NUMB=1&DATEF=030211

Link to the Online ICFTU calls for EU GSP trade preference enquiry over trade union rights violations in Belarus (31/1/2003):