European Union is ready to interact with Belarus on highest political level
Belarus is preparing for the Eastern Partnership Summit to be held on November 24th in Brussels. Both, the EU and Belarus have demonstrated the interest in further normalisation of relations.
On October 10th, 2017, media reported that President Lukashenka received a personal invitation to participate in the Eastern Partnership Summit. Earlier, the European Union issued an "invitation for the country as a whole", considering the participation in high level meetings of the Belarusian leader who was under EU sanctions, inappropriate. Since then (the last summit was held in Riga in 2015), sanctions were lifted, and Minsk had obtained a new foreign policy image related to the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine. A personal invitation of Lukashenka to participate in the Brussels Summit has demonstrated both, the seriousness of the EU's intentions to develop the Eastern Partnership further as a single instrument for interactions with its eastern borders, and the desire to deepen the dialogue with Minsk.
In addition, preparations for the Eastern Partnership Summit were discussed during the meeting of Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Kravchenko with the European Union ambassadors for Eastern Partnership. The meeting was held in Minsk on October 10th, and included ambassadors responsible for the Eastern Partnership: Polish Jan Hofmokl, Swedish Anna Westerholm and Dutch Adriaan Palm.
Belarus has made practical arrangements, disclosing the main motive for new interactions with the EU. On October 9th, 2017, the Council of Ministers adopted resolution No. 756 "Annual targets for the export of goods to the European Union in 2018-2020”, according to which the Belarusian government envisaged to increase exports to the EU states in three years to more than USD 6 billion a year.
Overall, as the EaP Summit draws closer, Minsk and Brussels have demonstrated interest in improving relations; the density of contacts has grown; and the EU is ready to talk with Belarus on the highest political level.