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July 15 – July 21, 2019
Belarus-West relations

Belarus hopes to deepen relations with the European Union only to suit her interests

The situation has not changed
Belarus hopes to deepen relations with the European Union only to suit her interests

Belarus further aspires to advance in normalizing relations with the West and the climate is favorable. However, Minsk is not ready to make political concessions and fulfill a requirement.

President Lukashenka reiterated his unwillingness to make political concessions in his congratulatory message addressed to Ursula von der Leyen in connection with her election as the European Commission President. In his message, the president particularly highlighted such EU values as peace, independence and sustainable development, which were rather attributable to Belarus, than to the EU. In addition, he said that he laid hopes on “a further deepening of political dialogue and practical details of bilateral cooperation between Belarus and the EU on trade, investment and humanitarian matters”, e.g. prioritized economic cooperation. He also reiterated the idea of the “Minsk Process” (aka “Helsinki 2.0”) hoping that it would give “the opportunity to discuss international issues aimed at building a safe and secure future in Europe”.

The same issues were discussed at the annual seminar for heads of Belarusian diplomatic missions, which primarily focused on foreign economic activity, international trade, and ways to increase Belarus’ exports.

Amid changes in the EU leadership and the election of a new president in Lithuania, Belarus may have new opportunities to overcome the deadlock in negotiations with the EU. For instance, on July 17th, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda announced his readiness for a dialogue with Belarus, which was impossible with Dalia Grybauskaitė, who was blocking Belarus’ negotiations with the European Union on partnership priorities.

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