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Lukashenka meets European Commissioner Hahn in Minsk

Belarus President Aliaksandr Lukashenka and European Commissioner Johannes Hahn. Photo: BELTA

On 21 June, when meeting with European Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn in Minsk, President Aliaknsadr Lukashenka talked about democracy, political prisoners, the abolition of death penalty. He also thanked Hahn for his role in the normalization of the relations between the European Union and Belarus, which 'have reached some level of stability."

"We did not ask for EU membership, but we would like to have that level of relations with the EU that could be envied even by the EU members. If the European Union is ready for that, we are willing to do our part," Lukashenka is quoted by the state news agency BELTA as saying.

Speaking about Belarus-EU partnership agreements that are in the pipeline, Alexander Lukashenko noted that they should be underpinned by trade and economic relations. “The topics like democracy, freedom of speech, political prisoners, the abolition of death penalty remain on the agenda, we are not taking them off the table and we make no bones about it. However, the focus should be made on trade, economic and financial relations,” the Belarus leader stressed.

Lukashenka noted that in terms pf trade, economic and financial relations Belarus did not receive from the European Union what it hoped for. "We will insist that the European Union also opens up for us the way we open up for the European Union," he told Hahn.

“If we see it in our relations with the EU, this will encourage us to embark on transformations and to reform our political system. Otherwise, we risk following suit of the Soviet Union that disregarded economic issues and ignored public opinion while breaking the political system. They destroyed the country and left it bankrupt. We are learning lessons from it,” the president added. The president emphasized that “if we embark on transformations, we should transform everything, but do it step by step taking into account economic interests and people's needs”. “This should be at the heart of everything,” Lukashenka stressed.