September 30 – October 6, 2019
Belarus-West relations

The high-level meeting with the EU was put off, demonstrating priorities of Minsk and Brussels

The situation has not changed
The high-level meeting with the EU was put off, demonstrating priorities of Minsk and Brussels

The high-level meeting within the framework of the Eastern Partnership and the visit of the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Federica Mogherini to Minsk did not take place. The visa agreement with the EU was not signed. This reflects foreign policy priorities of both, Belarus and the EU.

While it has become clear some time ago that the parties would not sign visa and readmission agreements at a meeting in Minsk in early October (due to the EU failure to complete required internal procedures), the visit of Mogherini and several EU foreign ministers was cancelled last moment. There were several reasons behind this.

Firstly, the European Union delayed the coordination of the dates for the high-level event and its participants, eventually saying that Friday-Saturday October 4th – 5th, 2019, was the only option. These dates almost coincided with Lukashenka’s extremely important visit to Zhytomyr for the Belarusian-Ukrainian regional forum and jeopardized his meeting with Mogherini.

Secondly, some foreign ministers who also planned to visit Minsk, for various reasons, changed their plans. In addition, according to some reports, a “quorum” of foreign ministers of partner countries was not ensured. Therefore, the format of the ministerial meeting was losing its shape.

The cancellation of this event has once again demonstrated that relations with the new Ukrainian authorities are much more important for Minsk than the pending normalization of relations with the EU, given the extremely low level of reciprocity on the part of the latter.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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