Ready to take place in Europe

Belarus boasts the second largest economy amongst Eastern Partnership members, noted the Charge d’affaires a. i. in Minsk, Jean-Eric Holzapfel

By Vasily Malashenkov

Speaking at a round table session entitled Republic of Belarus — European Union: Co-operation Strategy within a Historical Perspective, he stressed that Belarus has a developing market. However, he believes the country needs to join the World Trade Organisation to intensively liaise with the EU. He emphasised that the latter is interested in stability in Belarus, is open to collaboration and is ready for rapprochement.

At the same time, Mr. Holzapfel noted that an adequate legal framework is needed to advance Belarus-EU relations — both politically and otherwise. He emphasised the importance of the Eastern Partnership for Belarus-EU relations, reminding those present that the programme is based on multilateral and bilateral co-operation. The latter, in his view, is still underused by Belarus and needs driving forward.

Alexander Baichorov, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary of the European Directorate of the Foreign Ministry of Belarus, noted that Belarus is pursuing a multi-vector policy, which is why it has joined the Eastern Partnership programme. The country is interested in developing the spheres of energy and humanitarian work, alongside others. It is especially keen to see the initiative provide a mechanism to implement concrete projects. Moreover, the country is not begging for money for itself; rather, it is offering projects that will benefit the whole region. Mr. Baichorov reminded those present that unfounded discriminatory measures against Belarusian exports to the EU stand against a background of Belarus taking great strides to introduce EU standards across the board.

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