Belarus President Lukashenko seeks EU coorperation

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The European Union may contribute to Belarus’ economic independence, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with a delegation of the Political and Security Committee of the Council of the European Union on 21 November.

“The EU may contribute to the strengthening of Belarus’ economic independence through removing restrictions in trade, providing access to the EU market for Belarusian goods, assisting the country in the development of its relations with the IMF, enhancing Belarus’ position in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) credit ratings, and intensifying talks on Belarus’ accession to the WTO,” said Alexander Lukashenko.

The head of state stressed that even in the time when the EU economic and other types of sanctions were in place, Belarus did not resort to retaliatory measures.

“We have always supported you and your interests both in Unique opportunity Belarus and eastward,” the Belarusian leader said.

Unique opportunity

Today we have a unique opportunity to develop mutually beneficial cooperation with the EU, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with a delegation of the Political and Security Committee of the Council of the European Union on 21 November.

“With the abolition of the EU’s most restrictive measures against Belarus in February 2016, we now have favorable conditions for our relations. We have a unique chance to make them truly mutually beneficial for the benefit of economic development, for the benefit of the peoples of our countries,” the President said.

The Belarusian head of state noted that the diverse interaction has already brought positive results. A coordination group has been set up to promote a new format of political dialogue between Belarus and the European Union.

Belarusian ministries and relevant departments of the European Commission have established stable contacts in the field of ecology, economy and finance. Discussion on mutual trade has been launched.

“Next in line are energy, agriculture, customs, standardization, research and innovation,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The head of state also paid attention to the approval of the mandate of the European Investment Bank to cooperate with Belarus, and the adoption of the new strategy of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

In addition, the parties signed a declaration on partnership for mobility to strengthen cooperation in the field of migration. International cooperation through technical assistance has been enhanced.

“We welcome all these steps. Unfortunately, in their relations Belarus and the European Union are still guided by the legal framework which was laid down more than a quarter of a century ago and which does not take account of the new geopolitical realities. Let’s see how we can move forward on this issue,” the Belarusian leader said.

The President expressed the hope that the current visit will promote the dialogue between Belarus and the European Union, and will help improve the situation in the region.

Growing antagonism between EU and Russia

Belarus is concerned about the growing antagonism between the European Union and Russia, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said as he met with a delegation of the Political and Security Committee of the Council of the European Union on 21 November.

“I cannot but mention our preoccupation with the growing antagonism between the European Union and Russia. It is both painful and alarming for us, Belarus, to see that, understanding that neither you nor Russia, let alone us, need this amid those huge problems the world is currently facing and which should be addressed together,” the head of state said.

“I do not want to take someone’s side in the matter. There are enough mistakes committed in the East and the West, and by us as well. Our major goal is to eliminate all the shortcomings and errors,” Alexander Lukashenko added.