Belarus-EU: Real thaw or still love-hate relationship?

Alyaksandr Mikhnevich (L) and Donald Tusk (R), phot. by

Alyaksandr Mikhnevich, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Belgium and Permanent Representative of Belarus to the EU, delivered his credentials to President of the European Council Donald Tusk on December, 5.

“In the course of the meeting, the parties discussed the current positive dynamics in Belarus-EU relations, the prospects for further enhancing of cooperation in a number of fields, the Eastern Partnership initiative development and the situation in the region,” the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry reports.

Mr Mikhnevich informed Donald Tusk of the results of the meeting of the Belarus-EU coordination group in Minsk and the talks of the EU Political and Security Committee members and president Alyaksandr Lukashenka.


phot. by

According to the ministry, on the same day Andrey Bushyla, Head of the European Cooperation Department, met with the delegation of experts of the EEAS and the European Commission, who are paying a visit to Belarus on December 4-7. The sides discussed procpests for the development of Belarus-EU cooperation in the field of international technical assistance for the period until 2020, taking into consideration the reform of the European Neighbourhood Instrument.

In February 2016, the European Union lifted economic sanctions against Belarusian president Alyaksandr Lukashenka and 169 Belarusian officials. The EU Council decided to cancel the visa ban and assets freeze of the head of Belarus.

Later, the Belarusian leader demanded to continue the policy aimed at full normalization of relations and at advancing cooperation with the bloc in the context of our national interest. At that, the president stressed he did not want any political bias or excessive politics in the processes. His goal was ‘pragmatic relations’; Lukashenka blasted officials who insisted on conducting reforms in Belarus saying that the crisis was ‘only in their heads’.

As reported earlier, in a resolution adopted in late November, the European Parliament said Belarus’ progress in upholding democratic values was ‘insufficient’. According to MEPs, Belarus is still taking new political prisoners, harassing the opposition, using capital punishment, and failing to address safety concerns about its first nuclear power plant being built in Astravets.

See also