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28.10.2015 12:17 Politics, Belarus — EU

Belarus harbors no illusions about relations with EU, foreign minister says

By Tanya Korovenkova, BelaPAN
Minsk, 28 October. Belarus does not have the "rosy hope" that all doors will be opened tomorrow and the European Union will welcome it with open arms, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey said in an interview with the Russian newspaper Kommersant.
"Over time, the European Union has realized that Belarus is not a puppet in someone`s hands but an independent state that pursues an independent policy based on its national interests," Mr. Makey said. "Of course, a coincidence has also helped the European Union realize the motives behind some domestic and external political decisions made by Belarus."
Mr. Makey insisted that Belarus` relations with Russia would not be damaged by Minsk`s rapprochement with Brussels in any way. "We`re not even considering such a possibility," he said. "The European Union is the second trade and economic partner for us after Russia, and our eagerness to have normal relations with the EU can be explained by our eagerness to have normal trade and economic relations."
Although the Belarusian economy is export-oriented and interested in new export markets, Belarus definitely does not seek to increase its exports "at the expense of Russia or to the detriment of Russia," Mr. Makey said. "It would immediately become obvious if we tried to reach an agreement with Europe by infringing on some interests of Moscow," he said. "That is why we`ve never taken such steps. Only unintelligent people in Russia can talk about Belarus in such a context."
Acknowledging that Belarus` economic situation is difficult, Mr. Makey blamed its economic problems on "a whole range of external factors," such as the "global financial crisis" and the sanctions imposed by Russia and the EU on each other. He insisted that Belarus was not going to Europe "cap in hand." The country simply wants proper trade and economic relations with EU countries that leave no room for sanctions, he said. The Belarusians want an opportunity to cooperate with international financial institutions and hold talks about loans and the financing of mutually beneficial projects in Belarus and beyond, he said.




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