The lifting of sanctions gives Belarus and the European Union a unique chance to develop mutually beneficial cooperation, Belarus President said today as he met with a delegation of the Political and Security Committee of the Council of the European Union in Minsk. He also explained how the EU may contribute to Belarus’ economic independence.
“Your visit and our meeting confirm that there has been a positive change in our bilateral relations. However, a number of issues remains”, Alexander Lukashenko said on Monday, November 21.
According to him, after most of the restrictive measures against Belarus were abolished by the European Union in February 2016, favourable conditions for co-operation have developed between the two sides.
One of such changes is the creation of the EU-Belarus Coordination group, which represents a new format of dialogue between the parties. He mentioned other steps including discussions of matters of bilateral trade, cooperation agreements in the field of migration etc.
The head of state also listed thet steps the EU can take to contribute to the economic independence of Belarus.
“The EU can 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.
He added that the EU is the second largest market for Belarusian exports and an important source of investment. Alexander Lukashenko 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 Belarus and eastward.”
The EU delegation comprising representatives of the Political and Security Committee of the EU Council, the European External Action Service and the European Commission is on a visit to Belarus on 20-21 November. The delegation has arrived in the country to hold a number of meetings and discuss the status and prospects of cooperation between Belarus and the European Union.