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4 Jan 2018

MFA: Belarus-EU dialogue became more structured, economy-oriented in 2017

MINSK, 4 January (BelTA) – The dialogue between Belarus and the European Union became more structured and economy-oriented in 2017, reads the Annual Review of Foreign Policy of the Republic of Belarus and Activities of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2017, BelTA informs.

“Belarus-EU dialogue became more structured and economy-oriented in 2017. Belarus and the European Union nearly finished the coordination of partnership priorities which will set the framework for cooperation in 2018-2020 in four fields: strengthening the public administration system; economic development and market opportunities; transport communications, energy, ecology, and climate; people-to-people contacts. The European Union plans to allocate from €112 million to €136 million under the technical assistance program for Belarus in the next three years to carry out projects in these fields,” the ministry said.

Having signed and ratified the agreements on financing the EU’s cross-border cooperation programs “Poland-Belarus-Ukraine” and “Latvia-Lithuania-Belarus”, Belarus got access to €282.7 million of the EU’s funding for the period up to 2020 through a competitive selection process.

A framework agreement with the European Investment Bank will increase the inflow of Western investments into Belarus to a great extent. In 2018, the EIB will start financing the projects agreed upon with Belarus to develop the infrastructure, boost the energy efficiency, and support business in the country.

As expected, in 2018 Belarus will be able to take advantage of the funds of the new European Fund for Sustainable Development along with other EU neighboring countries. The fund is intended to trigger up to €44 billion in investments into the economies of these countries.

Joint cooperation mechanisms continued to function in a well-organized way: the Belarus-EU Coordination Group convened in Minsk on 3-4 April and in Brussels on 19-20 December; sectoral dialogues were held in the fields of economy, finance, trade, customs, and environmental protection. On 24 November, Belarus and the EU reached a high-level agreement on expanding the EU’s Trans-European Transport network to Belarus. The agreement is meant to attract the EU’s investments into Belarus’ transport system. The country and the European Union continue the dialogue on human rights, talks on visa facilitation and readmission.

Holding joint large-scale economy-oriented events with the European Union is becoming a tradition. Another installment of the Belarusian-European Economic Forum was organized by Belarus in cooperation with the European Commission in Luxembourg on 27 October 2017.

Political contacts have been developing gradually. Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei took part in the annual meeting of foreign ministers of the Eastern Partnership member states on 19 June and the EaP summit in Brussels on 24 November. The final declaration of the summit reflects Belarus’ key approaches to making the EaP a pragmatic, apolitical, and non-confrontational organization, developing practical forms of cooperation between the EU and its neighbors within the EaP framework.

 

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