Belarus and the European Union should switch to new practical forms of cooperation, Belarusian Economy Minister Vladimir Zinovsky said as he met with a EU delegation led by Katarina Mathernova, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargements Negotiations, and Laszlo Baranyay, Vice-President at the European Investment Bank (EIB), BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian Economy Ministry.
“Now it is important to make up for the lost time, switch to new practical forms of cooperation and implement projects with real economic benefit. In this context, we view the expansion of the EIB's mandate to cover our country as an important decision. We should resume our work on the framework agreement between Belarus and the European Investment Bank. For our part, we are ready to draw up a list of priority projects to be included in future strategy for the EIB's operation in Belarus,” Vladimir Zinovsky said.
During the meeting, the parties discussed the prospects for strengthening economic and financial cooperation between Belarus and the European Union, including in the context of the preparation of the EC's decision on the activation of the EIB mandate for Belarus.
Vladimir Zinovsky noted that Belarus is very interested in cooperation with the European Union. He recalled that the country is a reliable partner of the EU in various areas of mutual interest, ranging from economy and investment to regional cooperation and environmental protection. The European Union is the second largest market for Belarusian exports, and accounts for more than half of all foreign investments in Belarusian economy. The Minister noted that in recent years the cooperation has not been very intense. He welcomed “the steps towards removing unnecessary barriers, special approaches and other factors impeding our cooperation.”
According to him, the cooperation between Belarus and the EU is based not only on the geographic, historical and cultural closeness, but also on serious economic factors, and also the need for joint efforts to respond to the common challenges and threats.