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Opinions & Interviews

24 Nov 2017

Makei: Belarus’ framework agreement with EU may be signed in near future

Makei: Belarus’ framework agreement with EU may be signed in near future

BRUSSELS, 24 November (BelTA) – Belarus’ framework agreement with the EU may be signed in the near future, Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei told the media after the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels on 24 November, BelTA informs.

"We need to speak about it right now, and we are talking about it, about signing a new legal agreement between Belarus and the EU. All the former Soviet Union countries have concluded an agreement on partnership and cooperation with the European Union. These are framework agreements that define the principles of cooperation, institutional frames, create a solid legal framework for cooperation between a particular country and the EU. Unfortunately, due to various reasons, we do not have such an agreement,” the minister said.

According to him, today Belarus has relations with the EU which are much lower in their level than the relations of other countries with the union. "Therefore, only marginal people can blame us for rushing into the European Union, violating the obligations,” Vladimir Makei said.

"I think the conclusion of this agreement on partnership and cooperation is a matter of near future,” the head of the Belarusian foreign ministry said.

"We suggested doing it long time ago. Now we can see that there are changes in the approaches of our European friends and partners. These are positive changes. There is readiness to discuss the matter. We think that next year we will be able to start work on the development of this agreement,” said the minister.

Belarus is also at the stage of finalizing the discussion of the so-called partnership priorities, the program of cooperation with the EU through 2020.

The agreements on facilitating the visa regime and readmission are also high on the agenda. "Regarding visas, there are very few technicalities are left to agree upon, and probably one or two political moments that we are working on. I believe that we can overcome these difficulties and reach the conclusion of this agreement together with the readmission agreement in the near future,” Vladimir Makei said.

“I can not tell you about the details that could influence the negotiation process,” he added. “We are interested in the agreement that is to be concluded with Belarus to be similar with the agreements the EU has with our partner countries. We are ready to move forward. You see that we have introduced five-day visa-free rules. We are ready to continue talking about expanding the visa-free stay for foreign citizens,” he added.

"The next summit [of the Eastern Partnership] will be held in two years. I am confident that Belarus will definitely approach this summit with a new level of cooperation with the European Union. I am sure that the next summit will see new agreements everyone will speak about and that will benefit both Belarus and the European Union,” said Vladimir Makei.

 

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