After a news-wise week, BelarusFeed put together some of the most important news that hit the headlines on 19-25 November to keep you updated.
1. Scandal brewing between Armenia and Belarus
Yerevan is dissatisfied with the conduct of the Collective Security Treaty Organization’s (CSTO) leadership, which is currently trying to appoint a new secretary general.
Armenian acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan expressed his discontent with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev of discussing the issue with Azerbaijan, which is a non-member state.
“This is almost the same as me inviting a foreign ambassador from a country that is not a member of the organization, and telling him about a meeting held in a closed-door format.
We do not plan to keep silent on issues that relate to the interests of Armenia. We will continue to consistently and fundamentally, including in an atmosphere of partnership, protect the national interests of Armenia.”
Reacting to the accusations, the Foreign Ministry of Belarus stated that “the rules of street democracy are unacceptable in big politics. ”
2. The EU banks provide €160m and half a billion is expected
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided the first loans to Belarus totaling about €160 million euros.
“Europe and the western world have recently made sure that they can work with Belarus. Belarus is a reliable partner, especially in trade, economic and financial relations,” Alexander Lukashenko said during a meeting with EIB Vice President Alexander Stubb.
3. Meet new Minsk mayor
Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko appointed former Transport and Communications Minister Anatoly Sivak Chairman of the Minsk City Hall.
The president noted that more than a dozen candidates were considered for the post of a new head of the city. He was reportedly chosen because of his effective work as an assistant to the president, the chief inspector for Minsk.
The head of state stressed that in 2019 Belarus is hosting the 2nd European Games, and therefore Minsk needs to be ready for it. It is necessary to make it cozy and attractive for guests so that they keep coming here as tourists.
4. Belarus is gearing up for foreigners
The long-awaited agreement on the mutual recognition of visas between Belarus and Russia may be signed on 13 December 2018. The draft agreement is in its final stage.
Last week it became known that Russia is planning to establish an international checkpoint on the border with Belarus in the Smolensk region.
In the other news, foreigners in Belarus will be able to register online starting January next year. The procedure will be free of charge. Besides, they will be allowed to stay in Belarus without registration for 10 days.
5. Economic growth forecasts
The period of recovery growth in Belarus is over, increasing external challenges cast doubt on the growth of 2–3% per year. The quarterly review of the Belarusian economy by the Center for Economic Research BEROC states.
The second quarter of 2018, according to experts, was a watershed between the period of recovery and accelerated growth (2017, the first half of 2018) and the future period of lower growth.
“The key mechanisms responsible for the exhaustion of recovery growth were the saturation of existing external demand combined with growing imports, as well as the weakening of incentives/opportunities for firms to invest,” the experts state.