On June 4, 2019 the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, addressed the participants of an expert seminar “Eastern Partnership at 10: Results and ways forward” held under the auspices of the Council on Foreign Relations Minsk Dialogue.
In his statement, V.Makei presented Belarus’ perception of the role and place of the Eastern Partnership (EaP) in the context of Belarus’ relations with the West and the East.
The Belarusian Foreign Minister expressed confidence that the key to the success of the Eastern Partnership lies in its’ ability to fit into the new geopolitical “coordinate system” in Eastern Europe, which is characterized by a high conflict potential. V.Makei emphasized that Belarus traditionally stands for the development of the EaP as a pragmatic, equal and flexible instrument of cooperation, a mean of reducing confrontation, building confidence and overcoming dividing lines.
In this regard, Foreign Minister recalled the Belarusian proposals to focus the EaP on achieving clear and significant results by 2030: a triple increase in exports from partner countries to the EU and EU investments in these countries, a twofold increase in the number of jobs created in these countries by the EU, etc. V.Makei proposed to stimulate youth entrepreneurship, including by supporting high-tech start-ups. “The Eastern Partnership should serve to strengthen the sovereignty and economic development of each of the EU partner countries in accordance with their individual preferences,” the Foreign Minister said.
V.Makei noted that the development of the EaP should be accompanied by measures of trust, including dialogue between the European and Eurasian Economic Unions. “Information exchange, harmonization of standards and technical regulations, elimination of redundant trade barriers, encouragement of cooperation at the level of the member countries of both unions are all promising and much-needed topics of cooperation that are politically neutral and work towards long-term stability and prosperity throughout Europe,” – Minister noted.
V.Makei informed about the contribution of Belarus to strengthening of military and political stability and predictability on the European continent, our country's dialogue with NATO and the Alliance member states. At the same time, V.Makei characterized plans to strengthen the U.S. military presence in Poland as deeply wrong because it might provoke further tensions. Foreign Minister called on all the interested parties to start a broader dialogue on the steps necessary to restore confidence and security in the region.
The Belarusian Foreign Minister also stressed the prospects for implementing tripartite projects in the format of “China — EaP-EU countries” for the efficient interconnection of the “Great Silk Road” and the EU-TEN-T transport network.
In conclusion, V.Makei informed about Belarus’ willingness to hold in Minsk a high-level event on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the EaP, as well as to host sometime in the future the next Eastern Partnership Summit.
The seminar, organized by the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council, was attended by the Director General for the Eastern Neighbourhood of the Romanian Foreign Ministry, AdrianaStanescu, Ambassador at Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, Jacek Multanowski, Ambassador at Large of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Signe Burgstaller, Political Coordinator of the Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission, Victor Boikov, Deputy Head of the Division for the Eastern Partnership, Regional Cooperation and the OSCE of the European External Action Service, Radoslav Darski, representatives of the EU and Eastern Partnership countries think-tanks, a number of heads and representatives of diplomatic missions accredited in Minsk.