On May 14, 2019 in Brussels the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, took part in the conference dedicated to the 10th Anniversary of the Eastern Partnership (EaP).
The event was attended by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commissioner for the European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström, the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Mamuka Bakhtadze, the Prime Minister of Moldova, Pavel Filip, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Romania, Teodor Meleșcanu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, Elmar Mammadyarov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, representatives of the Foreign Ministries of the EU Member States.
Speaking at the 1st Panel “EaP10 – achievements and challenges in delivering concrete results to citizens” attended by President P.Poroshenko, Minister E.Mammadyarov, Foreign Minister of Poland J.Czaputowicz and Foreign Minister of Sweden M.Wallström, V.Makei informed the participants of the current state and prospects for Belarus – EU cooperation.
The Belarus’ Minister highlighted the crucial need to enhance trade and investment cooperation. V.Makei noted in particular the highly dynamic cooperation of Belarus with the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Foreign Minister called for coherent and structured development of a legal basis of Belarus-EU relations and expressed hope for swift signature of the Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements, as well as removal of barriers for concluding the bilateral Partnership Priorities.
V.Makei pointed out positive trends in the bilateral Belarus-EU dialogue, including on a range of sensitive issues. Minister also stressed that pragmatic cooperation had brought more dividends to both sides in recent years than the previous decades of EU sanctions.
The Foreign Minister called for intensified dialogue between the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union as an efficient way of defusing tensions in the Eurasian region.
V.Makei emphasized the need for more pragmatism and delivery of concrete tangible results to the citizens in the course of the ongoing EaP implementation. He spoke out in favour of greater visibility for the Eastern Partnership in the Partner States, including Belarus.
The Minister responded to a number of questions raised by other participants and held several bilateral meetings on the margins of the event.
V.Makei also took part in a working breakfast of the Foreign Ministers of the EaP countries hosted by Commissioner J.Hahn and attended by the top management of the European Investment Bank (EIB) and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The Minister gave a positive assessment of the EIB presence in Belarus. V.Makei reminded of the first agreements signed with the Bank in 2018 to finance projects with an overall value of €160 m to modernize the Minsk water treatment facility and facilitate access of SMEs to local currency loans. He praised EBRD which allocated over €360 m for projects in Belarus. Future expansion of EIB and EBRD activities in the country was also discussed at the meeting.
Later on the same day, V.Makei attended a working dinner for the heads of state and governments of the EaP countries hosted by the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk. During the discussion, the Foreign Minister shared his vision of the EaP evolution in the next years.