VILNIUS – The European Commission's plan of support to a future democratic Belarus and aid from other organizations and countries may amount up to 10 billion US dollars, the office of Belarus' exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya said on Friday.
According to Valery Kavaleuski, the head of her cabinet, the plan presented by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Tsikhanouskaya and other leaders of Belarus' pro-democracy movement in a letter on Friday should be activated "once Belarus embarks on a democratic transition"
"What the European Commission offers is 3 billion euros in support," Kavaleuski told an online news conference. "We estimate that with the participation of other interested players – countries and international organizations – this support package would increase to 10 billion US dollars."
Von der Leyen said that the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minks to arrest of Belarusian opposition activist Raman Pratasevich had given the EU an "impetus to act, he said.
Kavaleuski also noted that at least two jailed opposition activists had died in Belarus and several free media channels, including Tut.by, had been closed recently.
Ales Aliakhnovich, Tsikhanouskaya's representative for economics, said that the 3-billion-euro package, a mix of grants and soft loans, would be allocated to Belarus "only after free, democratic elections."
He described the package as the EU's promised basic support that would be disbursed in the first two to three years of implementation of fundamental reforms, adding that the country could expect more aid from the bloc while advancing further on the path to democracy.
A "rather large amount" of money could also come from the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, which is part of the World Bank Group, as well as from some countries, such as the United Kingdom, Norway, Canada and the United States, according to Aliakhnovich.