Belarus-EU: extending cooperation in a small way
In the absence of significant breakthroughs in relations with the EU, Minsk continued to focus on gradually deepening bilateral cooperation with some EU member states and technical cooperation with EU bodies.
Last week, this trend manifested through Latvia. When opening the exhibition dedicated to the centenary of Latvia’s independence, Foreign Minister Makey said that “For Belarus, Latvia is a friendly state, an important and reliable international partner”. The fact that during the festivities former Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis visited Belarus and met with President Lukashenka, is a sign of special relations between the states. Ulmanis reiterated an official invitation for the Belarusian president to pay a visit to Riga.
On November 13th, 2018 the Economy Ministry, the EU and UNDP signed an agreement on implementing a regional development support project with a budget of EUR 8 million. The project aims to create business incubators making entrepreneurship more accessible in small cities and rural areas. Overall, some 200 initiatives in 12 districts across the country are projected to be funded.
In addition, the head of the EU Delegation to Belarus, Andrea Wiktorin, said that another EU-funded business support project in cooperation with the International Financial Corporation would be launched in the coming weeks, aimed at improving access to financial resources for business and promoting structural reforms. The project would create an electronic registry of administrative procedures, enabling access to state administrative services through a single portal.