EU relations with Belarus

The  Conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council of 15 October 2012 paved the way for EU-Belarus relations.

Ratification of an EU-Belarus Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (negotiated in 1995) has been frozen since 1997 in response to the political situation in the country: the violations of electoral standards in Belarus' presidential elections (especially in 2010) and the ensuing crackdown on civil society, political opposition and independent media.

The EU is committed to a policy of critical engagement towards Belarus, through:

  • restrictive measures  targeted against those responsible for the violations of electoral standards, crackdowns and violations of human rights, as well as those supporting the regime or drawing benefit from it
  • sectoral dialogues and within the multilateral track of the Eastern Partnership initiative
  • support to civil society and victims of repression
  • the negotiations on visa facilitation and readmission agreements to the benefit of the public at large (launched on 30 January 2014)
  • dialogue with Belarusian society on the reforms needed to modernise Belarus and on the potential for developing relations with the EU (including possible EU financial support).

Assistance for Belarus

  • Assistance for Belarus is granted under the Country Strategy Paper 2014-2020 and focuses on:
    • Social inclusion
    • Environment
    • Local and regional development
  • Belarus is covered by the European Neighbourhood Policy  but, in view of the political situation, no action plan is yet in place.
  • Belarus is also a member of the Eastern Partnership  initiative, but participates only in its multilateral track.

All programmes funded by the EU are to the benefit of Belarusian people at large and include significant support to civil society.