The EU wants to extend the financing of Belarusian projects. The European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources has visited Minsk.
“We have always had and probably will have problems. But as we have recently seen, all the problems are not of a chronic nature, they can be solved,” Alyaksandr Lukashenka said vaguely.
We remember the tensions, the sanctions, and even departure of European ambassadors in 2012. In response to the statement by Lukashenka, the European Commissioner did not even blink, saying that now the EU budget for the next 10 years is being drafted. There will be a place for countries of the Eastern Partnership.
The European Union has already announced investment of more than a billion euros in the country’s infrastructure. What more Europeans are willing to spend money on to have a “reliable partner” of the United Europe in the face of Lukashenka?
A partner is only reliable as long as the Europeans do not think of the human rights, free elections and other traditional Belarusian points of tension. The West is ready to invest money.
For more reliable infusion of funds, the official Minsk and the European Union need to sign an agreement on political cooperation, which has been on the table for several years. Human rights activists, who also met with the European Commissioner, insist on including in the agreement clauses on human rights.
However, some experts believe that, despite all the political controversy or even the Lithuanian protests in connection with the construction of the Belarusian NPP, the EU will co-finance major projects Belarus anyway because…
“… it is in the interest of safety, including the socio-economic security of the region, which includes Belarus,” says Andrey Yahorau, Director of the Center for European Transformation.
During the meeting, Lukashenka recalled diversification of the Belarusian foreign trade:
“We could have 30-35% of the total foreign trade volume with the European Union, with 30% left for Russia and 30% for the remaining world countries.”
But there are no traces of big developments in this direction which is important for the economic independence. Vadzim Iosub, senior analyst of ALPARI, notes:
“The share of Russian foreign in Belarus is consistently about 50%. Everything else is with other countries of the world, including the EU.”
It is possible that soon the EU will be ready to significantly increase its support to the official Minsk. But the question whether the European money will partly bring the rights and freedoms to Belarusian citizens is rather rhetorical.
Vitaut Siuchyk, belsat.eu