Günther H. Oettinger, the EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, was on an official visit to Belarus on 17-18 February. In meetings with President Lukashenko, Prime Minister Sergei Rumas, Minister of Finance Maxim Yermalovich and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Oleg Kravchenko, the Commissioner discussed the state of EU-Belarus relations.
The Commissioner welcomed Belarus' active participation in the Eastern Partnership, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Acknowledging Belarus' increased interest in participating in the multilateral dimension of the Eastern Partnership, the Commissioner discussed the possibility for Minsk to host a high-level event in the framework of the 10thanniversary of the Eastern Partnership.
"I welcome the open and constructive dialogue which we had today with President Lukashenko and a number of members of his government. The European Union and Belarus have made good progress on a number of initiatives in the bilateral relationship over the last three years. This should help us to further strengthen cooperation between Belarus and the EU in the near future; an agreement on our Partnership Priorities would be an important milestone on that road", the Commissioner said after the meeting with President Lukashenko.
The Commissioner underlined that the EU is the largest provider of financial assistance to the country, having stepped up EU financial cooperation to the country over the last few years to achieve concrete benefits to citizens by supporting the country’s economy, connectivity and people-to-people exchange.
In the meeting with the representatives of the Belarusian civil society and participants of the MOST project, Commissioner stressed the importance of a vibrant civil society to the social and economic well-being of a country. During his mission, the Commissioner laid a wreath at the Victory Monument in Minsk to commemorate the victims of the Second World War.
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