Belarus further develops bilateral relations with individual Western states
The EU’s policy approach towards Belarus prompts the latter to develop and deepen bilateral relations with individual EU member states. Such an approach has become a sustainable trend, which pays off.
On June 3rd – 4th, 2019, Slovak National Council Chairman Andrej Danko visited Belarus. This was the first-ever visit to Minsk by the Slovakian head of parliament. During the Danko’s meeting with his Belarusian counterpart, Uladzimir Andreichanka, the latter said that Slovakia was a close nation to Belarus among other EU states.
On June 7th, the 22nd Belarusian-Polish Economic Forum "Neighbourhood-2019" was held, during which Polish Senate Marshal Stanisław Karczewski visited Belarus. On this occasion, Chairman of the Council of the Republic Mikhail Myasnikovich said that Poland was an important and promising partner for Belarus in the European Union. Karczewski, in turn, expressed hope that Poland would become the third largest trading partner for Belarus in the coming years (currently, the sixth largest in terms of turnover). Speaking at the Forum, Belarusian Antimonopoly and Trade Minister Uladzimir Kaltovich said that a strong Poland was the guarantor of Belarus’ economic stability and political independence. It was announced that Belarus and Poland were working on a new bilateral cooperation programme covering the period until 2027.
These visits gain additional significance against the background of the fact that for a long time, inter-parliamentary contacts between Belarus and EU-states were blocked due to the EU’s non-recognition of the Belarusian parliamentary elections as free and democratic. However, the political reality is that Belarus’ inter-parliamentary contacts, inter alia, with MEPs, have been gradually increasing in number and level. Such a change could be due to targeted diplomatic efforts by Minsk and Belarus’ new role of a facilitator in negotiations on Donbas and promoter of peace initiatives in Europe.