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What kind of integration do Belarusians really need?

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Common ideology and historical heritage could be a good foundation for an alliance / collage by Ulad Rubanau, Euroradio

"Belarus does not have to choose between the "Russian world" and the EU, where unity is weakening. Especially since Belarusians do not have a clear-cut view on integration with other countries. One of the new centers of economic cooperation in Europe may unite the countries of the former GDL: Belarus, Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania," believes the coordinator of the project "Commercial Management in Belarus", economic analyst Siarhey Mazol.

In his paper "Prospects of formation of new integration grouping in Europe and participation of Belarus in it" the expert describes what's wrong with the European Union, why Belarus needs to join the EaP and where the countries of the new economic formation can adopt the experience of efficient state management and innovation.

Euroradio has collected the main points from the article.

What's wrong with Europe?

The war in Ukraine showed that unity is sometimes difficult to find in Europe / Reuters

Integration in Europe is losing its strength because of the cooperation of leading European countries with eastern dictatorial regimes. This includes a policy of reconciliation with Russia and energy trade with the aggressor. Some countries benefit from this and allow them to dominate Europe. Others find it difficult to accept. In addition, the values component, which is important for European integration, is being lost.

Dynamics of Belarusians' geopolitical priorities/graph from Siarhey Mazol's article

"The role of the countries of "old" Europe, which have withdrawn their support from the Belarusian civil society in 2020 in favor of the usual policy of "pampering dictators", does not contribute to the pro-European orientation of Belarusian society," writes Mazol. 
"Belarus, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine are well aware of what a totalitarian state, the red terror, the destruction of national identity by a totalitarian state is. Common ideology and historical heritage would be a good foundation for creating a new cultural, value and economic center in Europe".

Belarusians will have a chance to not live worse than their neighbors

Economically, such an alliance would be much more beneficial for Belarus than the current arrangement and constant support of Russia. In order to understand that focusing on Russia is a dead end, the author offers to compare the economic growth of Lithuania and Belarus from 2010-2020. In Lithuania, it was +52.3%, and in Belarus - only +5.31%. The economic and social gap between Belarus and the civilized world will grow if nothing changes.

"The result of the negative geopolitical orientation is that by 2020 the GDP per capita in Belarus is three times lower than the corresponding index of Lithuania".

Comparison of the economic potential of the "GDL" countries and the leading countries of "old" Europe in terms of GDP, 2020 / World Development Indicators

Neither the development of individual countries nor the formation of a successful union is possible without effective institutions.

"The United Kingdom and the United States, and possibly Lithuania as well, which have good governance indicators, will be donors of best public administration practices. Economic integration can have an important impact on the dissemination of best practices of public administration among the member countries of an integration grouping and overcome the institutional gap with more developed countries rather quickly. It is more efficient economic institutions that make a social group, in our case a group of countries, more efficient and allow it to take a better place in the world economic order," summarizes Siarhey Mazol.

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