Technical and financial co-operation
Technical and financial cooperation
Action Programmes under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) guide the European Commission’s assistance to Belarus. Up to now, Belarus has received far less assistance than its neighbours because the policies pursued by President Alexander Lukashenka's regime prevent the Commission from offering Belarus full participation in the neighbourhood policy.
The principal objectives of EU cooperation with Belarus are to support the needs of the population, to directly and indirectly support democratisation, and to mitigate the effects of the self-isolation of Belarus on its population.
EU Assistance Programmes
To make the people of Belarus more aware of the advantages of EU assistance and the benefits of a closer relationship, the European Commission has issued a "non-paper" with the title: ‘What the European Union could bring to Belarus [32 KB] [32 KB] ’.
However, the EU still manages to provide some support to Belarusians. Assistance concentrates mainly on the areas of food safety ( ENPI Action Programme 2009 [121 KB] ) energy ( ENPI Action Programme 2007 [999 KB] ), environment ( ENPI Action Programme 2008 [58 KB] ) and higher education (Special Measures 2007 and 2008), but also on civil society and the social domain. The Commission also provides support to the country’s independent media.
To prevent drug abuse and fight against drug trafficking in Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova, the European Commission funds the BUMAD programme.
The EC also contributes to a project to promote a wider application of international human rights standards in the administration of justice in Belarus.
Dealing with Chernobyl’s legacy
The EU concentrates part of its assistance on areas of Belarus which were affected by the Chernobyl disaster.
More precisely, the assistance concentrates on supporting the provision of medical care services and monitoring to the most vulnerable categories of Chernobyl-affected population suffering from thyroid pathologies as well as to develop and implement sustainable social and economic initiatives through community mobilisation.
Support to Civil Society
The EU funded project "Support to capacity building and networking of Belarusian NGOs and Local Authorities" maintains a communication and networking platform for EU and Belarusian NGOs and Local Authorities.
In October 2006, the EU launched a major programme to support scholarships for Belarusian students who wish to study abroad. Scholarships are granted to students who have been penalised by the Belarus regime and who have been denied access to local universities because of their political activities during and after the presidential elections of March 2006.
Thanks to these scholarships, Belarusian students who have been expelled will be able to pursue their studies in neighbouring countries, in particular at the European Humanities University (EHU) in Vilnius and at universities in Ukraine. This initiative complements the scholarships offered by several EU Member States. The project is part of the EU's continuing efforts to support Belarusian civil society, particularly Belarusian students and youth.
Belarusians can also take part in the Erasmus Mundus External Co-operation Window for mobility of students and academic staff.
Supporting the independent media
The European Commission provides continued support to Belarusian independent media.
An ongoing project which started in 2008 includes a new information source for Belarusian journalists. It is the website "EU-Belarus" which contains EU-related information in both Belarusian and Russian languages.
Furthermore, from 2006-2008, the EU has funded a large media project involving TV, radio, the printed press and the internet in order to increase Belarusian people’s access to independent sources of news and information. The project makes use of existing media to provide independent, reliable and balanced information on Belarus and the EU. It also organises training for Belarusian journalists. The actions range from weekly TV broadcasting and live TV specials to daily radio shows on European Radio for Belarus (ERB) and editorial cooperation with independent Belarusian newspapers.
More details about the EU’s cooperation with Belarus are available on the web site of the EuropeAid Cooperation Office.