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31 January 2020, 19:12

Negotiations on Belarus-EU partnership priorities nearing completion

Dirk Schuebel
Dirk Schuebel

MINSK, 31 January (BelTA) – Negotiations on priorities of partnership between Belarus and the European Union are nearing completion, BelTA learned from Head of the European Union Delegation to Belarus Dirk Schuebel.

Dirk Schuebel said: “Belarusian authorities have been constructive throughout this period and we continue working on finding an agreement on the remaining issues.”

The diplomat continued: “Once concluded, the EU-Belarus partnership priorities will be an important and unprecedented building block in the EU's relations. It will help define the political priorities for the next phase of engagement between the EU and Belarus and will cover not only mutual interests in the economy and rule of law area, but will address the human rights situation and nuclear safety, issues that are fundamental in shaping further EU policy towards Belarus.”

The diplomat also noted that the partnership priorities will also define the strategic framework for the European Union's financial assistance to Belarus. “With this in mind, we hope for continued constructive engagement by all sides with a view to concluding negotiations as soon as possible,” he said.

When asked whether and when representatives of the European Union intend to visit Belarus, Dirk Schuebel said that members of the European Parliament representing the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with Belarus intend to visit Minsk and Grodno in late February. There is a number of bilateral visits being planned, those between Belarus and European Union member states. The European Union special representative for human rights has also expressed interest in coming to Belarus.

The head of the European Union Delegation to Belarus also spoke about the Eastern Partnership Initiative. He said: “2020 will be the year of concretely shaping the future Eastern Partnership. A consultation on the future of the Eastern Partnership was launched last May and lasted until late October: we received over 200 contributions from a broad variety of stakeholders including governments, parliaments, civil society, think tanks, private sector, youth, academia and international organizations. All the six partner countries and a vast majority of European Union member states submitted written contributions.”

Dirk Schuebel stressed that European Union institutions are now analyzing the contributions in order to agree the new policy objectives for the Eastern Partnership at the next summit, which is tentatively scheduled for June 2020. “Preparations for the summit are ongoing and, as usual, we will inform when invitations have been sent,” he concluded.

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