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Openness and trust for all investors on condition of responsibility and honesty

Belarus and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development demonstrate mutual interest in intensifying co-operation generally, and within specific projects
Belarus and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development demonstrate mutual interest in intensifying co-operation generally, and within specific projects

Meeting between President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, and EBRD Vice President, Alain Pilloux, tackles partnership

Belarus has suggested to the EBRD that it invest primarily in modernising enterprises which focus on high added value processing. Meeting President Alexander Lukashenko, EBRD Vice President Alain Pilloux, noted his interest in countries open to investors. He said that he is ready to support any project aiming to create new jobs and utilise high technologies. He also underlined the need for investors to work honestly and responsibly.

Belarus is keeping to this principle in its relations with business partners; according to Mr. Lukashenko, this feature is much appreciated. The President noted that Belarus has never failed to keep its promises and has never ingratiated itself. He stated, “If we take on an obligation, we do our best to fulfil our promises.”  He emphasised that Belarus has been committed to this policy even at the most difficult times since gaining independence. “We’re doing the right thing, and our partners value us for it,” he added.

The President stressed that Belarus will only implement projects benefiting the state and that the entire power vertical is focused on this principle. “People chose us to protect the interests of the state. We are absolutely not against private businesses where they are responsible, and prioritise the interests of the state, without trying only to line their pockets,” Mr. Lukashenko said, adding that responsible businessmen do exist in Belarus.

The EBRD has accumulated positive experience of working in Belarus and views it as a good venue for investment. In spite of Belarus’ difficulties in its relations with the European Union and the USA, the EBRD has always liaised with Belarus. Since 1992, the bank has invested about 1.8bn Euros. “I’d like to thank you for this. We’ve always managed to find common ground, despite the most difficult circumstances and situations,” Mr. Lukashenko admitted. The situation has now shifted and, according to the President, Belarus is able to conduct more open dialogue with the EU. “It’s a good signal and a factor for us both. We can expand our co-operation. Importantly, Belarus is ready for this,” he said.

Mr. Pilloux noted that the bank has achieved much in Belarus. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has maintained robust co-operation with Belarusian companies and with the Government, thanks to a high level of trust. The EBRD is ready to take this work further, as discussed by the Belarusian Head of State and the EBRD Vice President.

Instead of resume

Belarus’ co-operation with the EBRD well illustrates that politics and pragmatic business interaction differ. Our recent relations with the West prove this to be so. Despite challenging events, joint Belarus-EBRD projects continued to develop. Now that political dialogue with the EU and the USA is improving, possibilities for joint work are expanding, as was the focus of Mr. Lukashenko’s meeting with Mr. Pilloux.

The foreign guest appreciates the high degree of mutual trust governing our interaction, and has praised the President’s individual efforts. Mr. Pilloux agrees that the bank now has possibilities to work more profitably and usefully in Belarus. He looks forward to expanding co-operation. His visit, which includes meetings at various levels, aims to outline promising avenues of interaction, of mutual interest. New agreements are likely to be announced soon. 

By Vladimir Khromov

Direct speech

On addressing Alain Pilloux, the President said:

I guarantee that we’ll behave extremely honestly as partners. However, we’ll not accept projects which fail to benefit the state. I’d like you to understand that I’m not a businessman but a state figure — an advocate of a strong state, towards which I orient the power vertical and my Government. People have elected us to protect state interests.
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