Minsk's refusal to participate in EU program "Dialogue on modernization" exacerbates the crisis of bilateral relations
On 9 July in Minsk, Evdochenko, the Belarusian Ambassador to Belgium and the Permanent Representative of Belarus to the EU, said that Belarus was ready to participate only in EU programs that were jointly developed and offered.
Official Minsk demonstrates that it is not going to participate in EU partnership programs, developed unilaterally. The inhibition of another project on establishing relations points to the continuation of bilateral policy crisis: Minsk is not prepared to make concessions, and Brussels is not ready to engage in dialogue with the Belarusian authorities.
The refusal of the Belarusian side to participate in the EU program \"Dialogue on modernization\" was predictable, and had an objective basis. According to the statement of Evdochenko, this program was developed without consultation with the representation of Belarus in the EU. In addition, the program has already been launched with the participation of the opposition, civil and independent expert community and without the participation of the authorities.
These two factors lead to the fact that the Belarusian authorities are not interested in joining the already existing program, which engages their political opponents. Therefore, the most likely further reaction of the authorities will be at minimum to ignore the program.
More active blocking actions by the authorities, up to the restriction of contacts between Belarusian and European participants, are also likely. In the end, the authorities’ reaction depends on the activity and the spheres of activity of the participants of the program \"Dialogue for modernization\" inside Belarus.
The inhibition of this program at the official level in Belarus will contribute to the inhibition of other Belarus-European projects under the regional program \"Eastern Partnership\", and, in particular, the National Platform of Civil Society Forum. As a consequence, the Western policy vector of the official Minsk remains locked, whereas current projects are limited to a narrow sector of non-governmental and opposition organizations.
According to Decree No. 221 of June 23rd, 2017, deadlines for the completion of foreign trade operations have been extended from 90 to 180 days for exports and from 60 to 90 days for imports. Delayed payments entailed a fine up to 2% of the transaction cost for each day of the delay, but could not exceed the total cost of the transaction. Most companies, when working with new counterparties, require a deferred payment for a period of three to six months. Due to the new regulation, violations are likely to reduce in number, so as the fines. Trade enterprises are likely to expand the assortment list due to the supply of new products in small lots, and the assortment list of exported Belarusian goods could expand, too. The new terms for completing foreign trade transactions would enable medium and small companies on the foreign trade market, exporters and importers are likely to grow in number and the geography of export-import operations could expand.