EU official on relations with Belarus: Tango is a partner dance

Photo: Belta
Photo: Belta

Journalists from Eastern Partnership (EaP) member states met with high-ranking EU officials on the eve of the Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels. The results of the cooperation between the EU and the EaP member states were summed up there. Plans for the future were also mentioned at the meeting. It has been allowed to quote the speakers keeping their names out.  

The representatives of European structures described the cooperation with Belarus in a very diplomatic way: “We have been working together with Belarus on the level of expert initiatives a lot.” The reply given by one of the EU officials implies that the same can be expected in the next two years.

“It is a pity that the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement has not been signed with Belarus yet. You know very well what we do not like about Belarus – the death penalty and the lack of work in the field of human rights. Yet, it does not mean that we are going to freeze relations with Belarus or ignore you. We have been developing our relations using the existing opportunities even without this framework agreement. I am hoping that the situation will be gradually improving. You know, tango is a partner dance.

We are keeping a close eye on the situation in Belarus. We have been asking many times: “Can you at least impose a moratorium on the death penalty?” It has not happened yet. We are also worried about people’s safety… We visited Belarus together with 28 EU Ambassadors but I have to note that out relations with Belarus are not as developed as the relations with the other EaP member states (Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan). I can only say that if the Belarusian authorities change something about the issue mentioned above, the visa issue will start being solved (the cost of a Schengen visa will be reduced to €35) and a visa-free regime agreement may be signed with your country.”

Speaking about the penetration of Belarusian goods into the European market, MEPs simply said: the issue will be discussed when Belarus joins the World Trade Organization.