Co-operation proposed in wide variety of different avenues
By Vladimir Vasiliev
Western journalists often interview Alexander Lukashenko. This time, German and Austrian well-known media arrived at the Presidential Residence, at 15 Frunze Street, representing the WAZ Media Group and ZDF Television Company, as well as the newspapers Sьddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Berliner Zeitung, Die Welt, Financial Times Deutschland, Die Welt am Sonntag, Die Bild and Die Presse. The interview with Mr. Lukashenko covered almost every topical issue: from the forthcoming presidential elections to BATE’s success in the Europa League and preparations for the 2014 IIHF World Championship. For the ZDF Television journalists, particularly keen on the sporting topic, the conservation continued… on ice. The enthusiasts were invited by Mr. Lukashenko to join him at his evening training.
Of course, relations between Belarus and the EU were a keynote of the conversation. “There’s no doubt that we should move towards co-operation,” the President stressed. The Head of State called attempts by EU states, including Germany, to isolate Minsk counter-productive. “We should liaise. We live in a close, inter-dependant world. We share a common home, called Europe,” the Belarusian leader noted metaphorically.
Speaking of Belarus’ interest in the Eastern Partnership programme, Mr. Lukashenko asserted, “We’re ready to become the most active player in the Eastern Partnership if the European Union wishes it.” He explained that Minsk has offered the EU concrete proposals, which are ‘very beneficial, including for Germany, and for the north and south of Europe’. “We’re ready for the whole of Europe to take advantage of our opportunities,” Mr. Lukashenko emphasised, showing Belarus’ openness towards co-operation.
Much time was dedicated to investment relations and prospects for German companies to participate in the privatisation of Belarusian enterprises. The President noted that Minsk is keen to consider any economic or investment initiatives from Germany and would like to see German partners become more dynamic. Mr. Lukashenko here noted the example of Venezuela, co-operation with which is rapidly developing, with joint projects expanding in scale.