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Opinions & Interviews

15 Mar 2017

Makei: Belarus is a staunch supporter of integration

Makei: Belarus is a staunch supporter of integration

MINSK, 15 March (BelTA) – Belarus remains a resolute and staunch supporter of integration and suggests using the Minsk venue for strengthening mutual ties and integration processes in Central and Eastern Europe, Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei said at the meeting with heads of the delegations of the Visegrad Group and Eastern Partnerships member states in Minsk on 15 March, BelTA has learned.

“In line with this policy, Belarus’ presidency in the Central European Initiative will be mainly aimed at promoting connectivity in a greater Europe. This includes a big number of cross-cutting themes such as the development of transport infrastructure, harmonization of norms and standards related to customs and trade, promotion of economic development at the municipal and regional levels. At the same time success in the best use of such interrelations largely depends on a higher level of education, a wider intercultural dialogue and active interpersonal contacts,” Vladimir Makei said.

According to the minister, today’s meeting in Minsk (the meeting of the deputy ministers of foreign affairs of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group member states) is of great significance as it is a debut meeting held in one of the capitals of the Eastern Partnership states. Its content and results will bear special importance for the forthcoming meeting of the ministers of foreign affairs in Warsaw. “Both the meetings provide us with a timely opportunity to discuss our possible joint contribution to the current European agenda with a special focus on the Eastern neighborhood region of the EU,” the Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs said.

Vladimir Makei stressed that the practical cooperation between the Visegrad Group and the Eastern Partnership member states is becoming important as never before. These subregional integration initiatives bring together the states that, while being geographically located between the major power centers of Europe, traditionally aspire to self-determination and sustainable development. “Such a geographic position is both a curse and a blessing. Its disadvantage lies in greater susceptibility to the influence of external factors, which is of particular concern in the context of the tense situation in the region” Vladimir Makei said.

The minister noted that, on the other hand, this position opens up great opportunities for trade, cooperation and intercultural dialogue, which increases the countries’ role in shaping the future of Europe. “Being located at the geopolitical watershed, our states have their own influential voice in choosing the future: creating bridges or new dividing lines. I am convinced that having a half-hearted, painful and slow integration is better than surrendering to the ghosts of the cold war. Restoring the curtains will not lead us to economic prosperity. Neither will this help us find solutions to complex regional problems,” Vladimir Makei stressed.

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