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Belarus government eager to sign visa facilitation agreement with EU in autumn

Politics 06.08.2019 | 12:28
Sergei Rumas
Sergei Rumas

MINSK, 6 August (BelTA) – The Belarus government intends to sign a visa facilitation agreement with the European Union this autumn. Prime Minister of Belarus Sergei Rumas made the relevant statement as he met with Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus Andrea Wiktorin on the occasion of the end of her diplomatic mission in Belarus, BelTA has learned.

Sergei Rumas said: “I think we will complete all the intrastate approval procedures by autumn. I strongly hope that the agreement will be signed in autumn. At least the Belarusian side will do its best to make it happen.”

The Belarusian head of government thanked Andrea Wiktorin for the personal contribution to the advancement of Belarus' relations with the European Union. “In the last four years we saw noticeable progress in our relations. The growing trade turnover is one of the indicators,” the prime minister said. A number of projects have been launched with assistance of the European Union, including MOST (Mobility Scheme for Targeted People-to-People-Contacts) and a Twinning project.

Sergei Rumas added: “The growing number of visits of European commissioners to Belarus is another proof of the fact that our relations are about to reach new heights. I am referring to European Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources Gunther Oettinger. We also look forward to the visit of [the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy] Federica Mogherini.”

Andrea Wiktorin
Andrea Wiktorin

Priorities of the government's interaction with the European Union include the completion of negotiations on Belarus' accession to the World Trade Organization and the advancement of credit and investment cooperation with European institutions. Belarus intends to complete all the talks on accession to the WTO before the WTO ministerial meeting to be held in Kazakhstan in June 2020. According to Sergei Rumas, everything proceeds on schedule.

As for credit and investment cooperation, Belarus has managed to build good relations with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and with the European Investment Bank. “The terms, on which the European Investment Bank offers resources to Belarus, are simply unprecedented,” Sergei Rumas remarked. “It will allow us to develop our infrastructure right now and pay back the money in equal sums over a long period of time.” The European Union has also facilitated Belarus' transition to the sixth group in the ranking of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Sergei Rumas confirmed the government's readiness to continue advancing relations with the European Union and cooperate with the new head of the European Union delegation to Belarus in a constructive manner.

“It is important that today we understand each other better than we did four years ago. I hope together with your successor we will make some headway into fully cancelling the sanctions. I think it is in our common interests,” Sergei Rumas said.

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