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The EU’s neighbourhood policy – Belarus KATARZYNA PISARSKA POLISH FORUM OF YOUNG DIPLOMATS Genshagen, 25-30 September 2005.

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Presentation on theme: "The EU’s neighbourhood policy – Belarus KATARZYNA PISARSKA POLISH FORUM OF YOUNG DIPLOMATS Genshagen, 25-30 September 2005."— Presentation transcript:

1 The EU’s neighbourhood policy – Belarus KATARZYNA PISARSKA POLISH FORUM OF YOUNG DIPLOMATS Genshagen, 25-30 September 2005

2 Agenda EU Relations with Ukraine and Belarus 1.Belarus – some basic facts 2.Historical overview of bilateral relations 3.Belarus and the European Neighborhood Policy 4.Future Priorities

3 BELARUS –some facts Until 1991 a constituent republic of the USSR Attained its independence in 1991 Retained very close political and economic ties to Russia December 1999 - Belarus and Russia sign a treaty on a two-state union envisioning greater political and economic integration Since the election in July 1995 of country’s first president, Alexander LUKASHENKO Belarus remains Europe’s last dictatorship

4 BELARUS –some facts Population: 10,300,448 Ethnic groups: Belarusian 81.2%, Russian 11.4%, Polish 3.9%, Ukrainian 2.4%, other 1.1% (1999 census) Eastern Orthodox 80%, other 20% GDP – 6,4% (2004) GDP – per capita: $6,800 (2004) Official unemployment – 2% Import partners: Russia 50%, Germany 13.3%, Ukraine 4.3%, Poland 4.2% (2004)

5 Historical overview EU Relations with Belarus before ENP  1991 – Recognision of Belarus as an independent state by the EC  1995 – Negotiations on the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) are completed  1996 – progress in bilateral relations stalled as a consequence of serious setbacks to the development of democracy in Belarus  1997 – the EU Council of Ministers decided that:  the EC will conclude neither the interim agreement nor the PCA  bilateral ministerial contacts between the EU and Belarus will be suspended  implementation of TACIS will be halted (except in the case of humanitarian aid or regional projects)

6 Historical overview EU Relations with Belarus before ENP  1999 – EU adopts a „stick and carrot” approach toward Belarus. Sanctions are to be lifted only if the country fulfills 4 OSCE benchmarks:  Substantial powers to the Parliament are returned  Opposition is represented in electoral commissions  Fair access to state media for opposition is granted  Electoral legislation conforms to international standarts  2000/2001 – EU with OSCE monitor parliamentary and presidential elections. None fulfilled democratic standarts  The situation concerning human rights and fundamental freedom continues to deteriorate in 2003-2005

7 The European Neighbourhood Policy BELARUS WITHIN THE ENP:  Initially Belarus was interested in ENP, suggesting even specific areas for cooperation  In early 2004 the EU confirmed that Belarus has the opportunity to be an active partner of the EU in the framework of the European Neighbourhood Policy  The anti-democratic developments (2004 parliamentary elections) have made it impossible for Belarus to benefit from the ENP  The November 2004 Council Conclusions confirmed 1997 diplomatic sanctions and underlined that future progress in bilateral relations depends on democratic developments in Belarus

8 The institutional framework EU Relations with Belarus today VERY LIMITED BILATERAL COOPERATION: No PCA or an Interim Agreement Limited TACIS assistance No bilateral ministerial contacts No ENP Action Plan for Belarus Implementation of democratisation programmes continues in close collaboration with the Council of Europe and the OSCE (Assistance and Monitoring Group)

9 The Latest Developments The 2005 EU ACTIONS TOWARDS BELARUS : In January the European Commission initiates three events on EU assistance to democratization and civil society in Belarus In August Commissioner or External Affairs Benita Ferrero- Waldner rebukes Belarus for its attempts to terrorize the country’s Polish minority The European Commission grants a €138,000 contract to Deutsche Welle radio station to broadcast to the former Soviet state starting from November

10 Future perspectives EU Relations with Belarus WHAT SHOULD BE DONE: EU must formulate a long-term strategy towards Belarus aimed at the democratization of the country and against the regime EU must prepare new tactics and cooperate directly with the non- governmental actors Funds must be directed towards building a civil society (i.e. European Democracy Fund) There must be a greater level of coordination between the EU and the US (Belarus Democracy Act) The policy over Belarus can be discussed with Russia but NOT negotiated with it Integration of Belarus into the EU should remain an open question (50% of Belarusians support closer cooperation with the EU!)

11 Future perspectives EU Relations with Belarus Few practical steps possible: Visa bans for all regime’s high officials, judges, police officers etc. Liberalization of visa regime for ordinary Belarusian citizens Identifying and blocking the weapon export from Belarus Etablishing student exchange programs for Belarus independently from state administration EU planned mass media support for Belarus Establishing EU’s permanent representation in Minsk and appointing EU’s Special Representative for Belarus

12 THANK YOU......and don’t forget about Belarus! KATARZYNA PISARSKA

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