Belarus has no desire to become EU member – Deputy FM

Photo: Henry Nicholls/REUTERS/Forum

The European Union should consider Belarus as a neighbour, not as a prospective member, Deputy Foreign Minister Aleh Krauchanka said at Thursday’s seminar Reassesing Sovereignty in Today’s World held by the expert initiative Minsk Dialogue.

“We do not have such desire [to join the EU —] for the time being,” the top official said.

According to him, Minsk hopes for the successful development of relations with the EU, as the two sides share common interests; the bloc is the second largest trade partner of Belarus. They build the relations of neighbours who help each other and do not create problems, Krauchanka believes.

It should be noted that Belarus and the European Union have not signed a basic agreement on cooperation yet.

“I would like to hear what needs to be done in order to conclude a basic agreement between Belarus and the EU as soon as possible, because such a legal vacuum between neighbors is, of course, counterproductive for both parties,” Belarusian PM Syarhei Rumas on February 18 at a meeting with the European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Gunther Oettinger.

The basic agreement is a contract that defines the principles, priorities and frameworks of cooperation between the EU and Belarus, forms the legal basis of relations. The Belarusian authorities have been saying that the signing of this agreement is the nearest prospect since 2017.

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In addition, the Belarus-EU negotiations on visa facilitation and readmission began some years ago. Earlier, EU Delegation Head Andrea Wiktorin expressed hope that the agreement would be signed at the end of 2018.

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