Belarus pursues a balanced internal and external policy. As a result, the European Union is ready to open a new page in bilateral relations. The prospects of mutually beneficial cooperation were discussed at the November 21 meeting of the President with EU diplomats. Minsk was visited by a group of European officials headed by Chairman of the Council of the EU Political and Security Committee Walter Stevens.
Walter Stevens, Chair of the Political and Security Committee (PSC) of the Council of the European Union:
The European Union countries want to open a new chapter in relations with Belarus. Last year, we stepped up a number of initiatives, including the political and trade-economic areas. We would like to identify priorities which will be a new chapter in our partnership.
The traditional position of Belarus on the key issues remains unchanged. And the European side noted a change in their attitude towards for the better. A new impetus in the development can be achieved not only thanks to Eastern Partnership but also in trade and economic relations.
Sergei Kizima, political analyst:
The most important task in the development of relations with the European Union is to increase Belarusian export to the European Union by removing restrictions which prevent Belarusian goods, attract new technologies, from instance from Germany, and increase EU investment in Belarus, achieve a new cooperation partnership agreement.
The European Union reiterated it is grateful to Belarus for its efforts in providing a negotiating platform to resolve the crisis in the south-east of Ukraine. The European diplomats also asked Alexander Lukashenko about the position on the Ukrainian question on the eve of his meeting with Vladimir Putin.
I cannot but mention our concern over the growing antagonism between the EU and Russia. We in Belarus feel pain when watching it. Neither side needs this confrontation. I do not want to be on someone's side in this matter. There are enough mistakes from the East and from the West, and probably on our side too. And our task is to eliminate these shortcomings, failures and mistakes. At one time, the Helsinki process was needed for rapprochement between the West and the East, which eventually led to the creation of the OSCE. In order to improve the atmosphere of relations between states, let's think about updating the Helsinki process and try to start the peace process, possibly the Minsk process. We would like to put forward an idea, based on the positive effect of the Norman format, to exchange views on the settlement of relations between East and West. I suggest holding a meeting of key international experts in the Belarusian capital Minsk.