Updated at 23:17,14-04-2021

Belarus-West thaw again: Lukashenka to create quasi-NGOs to pump grants from EU?


Uladzimir Makey, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, took part in the 7th Annual Eastern Partnership (EaP) Ministerial Meeting, which was held in Brussels on May 23, 2016.

In his plenary statement at the Ministerial, Makey outlined the approaches of Belarus towards development of relations with the European Union and future perspectives for the Eastern Partnership.In particular, he voiced support for regional projects, which would foster the development of trade, attraction of investments, enhancement of transit capacities, solution of environmental and migration issues, the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry reports.

On the margins of the event, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Belarus held a series of working meetings with senior officials of the EU institutions, ministers of foreign affairs of the EU Member States and Eastern Partnership countries.

As reported before, in May president Alyaksandr Lukashenka visited Italy and the Vatican where he met with Italian Prime Minister Sergio Mattarella and Pope Francis. It was Lukashenka’s first trip to the EU after the bloc lifted its sanctions on the Belarusian authorities.

Belsat TV asked Yuras Melyashkevich, a member of the movement ‘For Freedom’, to assess the importance of Makey’s visit to Brussels for the Belarusian authorities.

“This was a trip of prestige. This is only part of the dialogue which is followed by political negotiations. Of course, a personal contact at such a level will support the dialogue. Much depends on the political situation, on what is going on in Belarus, what our government is doing here. If their actions and deeds are contrary to what they declare atsuch forums, they should not hope for any beneficial effect, for example, financial aid”, he said.

Mr Melyashkevich believes that democratic countries will continue to back the development of democracy in Belarus and support its civil society.

At that, the activist sounds a special alarm about the risk of pro-Lukashenka’s agencies getting the access to EU grants as well. Quasi-NGOs only strengthen authoritarian tendencies within the country and cause a departure from EU standards, Yuras Melyashkevich stresses.

In April 2016, Mikalai Statkevich, a former presidential candidate and political prisoner, stated that the Belarusian regime created 2,400 non-governmental organizations in order to take control of the ‘Western money’.