“Issues in relations with the EU are not chronic”
Relations with the European Union are drifting towards practical interaction in spheres of mutual interest. The recent visit of the European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety and the visit of the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources have confirmed this trend.
On February 17th-18th, EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Gunther Oettinger visited Minsk and met with President Lukashenka, Prime Minister Rumas, Finance Minister Yermolovich and Deputy Foreign Minister Kravchenko.
During the meeting with Oettinger, Lukashenko noted that “recently the parties have made significant progress in relations, including in trade and economic spheres”, and emphasized Belarus’ goal to diversify foreign trade. Rumas reiterated the need to sign a basic cooperation agreement with the EU, a matter regularly raised by Minsk in recent years. In addition, he expressed hope that Brussels would support Belarus’ WTO accession.
Commissioner Oettinger said that the parties discussed the possibility of holding a high-level event in Minsk dedicated to the Eastern Partnership anniversary and that the EU was ready to increase funding for projects in Belarus in the next budget period (2021-2027).
Overall, despite outstanding political issues, Minsk and Brussels are slowly but consistently increasing cooperation in different spheres of mutual interest. The latter primarily include trade, investment, infrastructure and security.