MINSK, 7 August (BelTA) - The European Union is keen to develop cooperation with Belarus in all areas, outgoing Head of the EU Delegation to Belarus Andrea Wiktorin said during a meeting with Chairman of the House of Representatives Vladimir Andreichenko in Minsk on 7 August, BelTA has learned.
The parties discussed various aspects of the Belarusian-EU relations. “We want to develop cooperation in all avenues. The European Union acknowledges and recognizes the constructive position of Belarus on the settlement of the crisis in Ukraine,” the diplomat noted. “We recognize your contribution to peace in the region, appreciate the cooperation of Belarus within the framework of the Eastern Partnership initiative,” she added.
Andrea Wiktorin was appointed head of the EU Delegation to Belarus in 2015. During her tenure great progress has been made in the normalization of the relations. “The most important thing is that they have been evolving in many areas,” Vladimir Andreichenko said.
Separately, the speaker spoke about the inter-parliamentary cooperation, which, in his view, is at a very low level. “We need to develop these relations, find some common ground, points of interaction. We need to go forward. Maybe these will be small steps but we need more of them,” he said.
The House of Representatives extended well wishes to the new head of the European Parliament David-Maria Sassoli. “We would like to establish constructive contacts,” the speaker of the Belarusian Parliament said.
Vladimir Andreichenko noted that Belarus and the EU have advanced in trade and economic cooperation, including investment. He explained why the Belarusian authorities focus much on this aspect in the relations with Europe. “The standards of living, jobs, wages are very important for Belarus. These issues are in the center of attention of the government,” the speaker stressed.
The parties discussed the visa facilitation agreement to be signed in the autumn and the upcoming visit of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini to Belarus.
The EU is the second largest market for Belarusian exports. In 2015-2018 the bilateral trade rose from $14.4 billion to $17.3 billion, with exports from Belarus up from $8.6 billion to $10.2 billion.
In 2018 Belarus raised $5.4 billion in investment from the EU countries, including $4.6 billion in direct investment ($5.2 billion and $4.2 billion respectively in 2017).More about Politics