PM outlines EUR 11.3-mln aid package for Belarusians

The PM announced the expansion of a Polish and Polish-American aid programme for victims, saying they could gain the opportunity to study and work in Poland. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki told the Sejm (lower house of parliament) on Friday that the government is preparing a PLN 50-milllion (EUR 11.3-million) aid package for Belarusians including facilitated entry and access to work in Poland.

Other provisions include support for independent media and Polish NGOs supporting civil society in Belarus as well as scholarships for expelled students and academics. Morawiecki also called on the Belarusian government to consider fresh, free elections under the watch of international observers.

The PM told the house that Poland, which accepted Ukrainians from areas affected by the separatist war in the eastern Donbas, "can also become the second home of repressed Belarusian victims."

Morawiecki recalled the events in Poland of 1980 and the subsequent repression of strikers and those engaged in the Solidarity trade union. "The same is happening today in Belarus," he said. "There is no way of telling how many Belarusian citizens find themselves in such a position, but we want to enable everyone who is repressed by the authoritarian Belarusian government to come to Poland and develop here and live."

The government aid plan for Belarusians includes support for the repressed - those thrown out of work, beaten and injured. The PM announced the expansion of a Polish and Polish-American aid programme for victims, saying they could gain the opportunity to study and work in Poland.

"In a situation where the stakes are life, health, security, there is no time to lose," the prime minister said. "We therefore propose a detailed package promising freedom from (visa - PAP) charges, and in certain cases also freedom from the obligation to possess documents, and facilitated entry to the job market."