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28 Nov 2016

Wiktorin: EU-Belarus relations are moving in the right direction

MINSK, 28 November (BelTA) – The European Union and Belarus are moving in the right direction in their relations, Head of the European Union Delegation to Belarus Andrea Wiktorin said in an interview with Belarus 1 TV channel.

When commenting on the economic relations, Andrea Wiktorin pointed out that the relations are going through positive changes. “We are moving in the right direction, but certain administrative barriers still exist. Italian and Austrian business is represented in Belarus. Many European companies, small and medium-sized enterprises are eager to enter your market, but they need support. The signing of the agreement between Belarus and the International Monetary Fund will give a positive signal and open up new opportunities for cooperation with the European business,” Andrea Wiktorin noted.

Belarus is the only country out of the six Eastern Partnership countries that has no cooperation agreement with the European Union. Andrea Wiktorin did not give any specific timelines, but noted that much depends on the Council of Europe. “No talks about signing a new document with Belarus are in progress. Although the EU has seen great progress in the relations with your country over the past two years. Still, it is the Council of Europe that makes the final decision on launching negotiations,” Andrea Wiktorin explained.

The Head of the European Union Delegation to Belarus also spoke on the status of the negotiations between Belarus and the EU on facilitation of visa procedures. “The coordinating group has recently held a meeting to discuss the issues related to the relaxation of visa rules. The sides agreed to organize a meeting of experts who will discuss a range of issues hampering the signing of the agreement. If the issues are settled, progress will be made towards the signing of the visa facilitation agreement,” Andrea Wiktorin said.

She emphasized that in its work with Belarus, the European Union is aiming to improve the quality of people’s life. Economic and environmental projects are being implemented as part of the effort to achieve this goal. Andrea Wiktorin said that she will soon go to Vitebsk to visit a facility whose energy efficiency has been improved with the financial assistance from the European Union. The project is an example of the assistance that Belarus receives from the EU.

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