Belarus and EU discussed human rights issues in Brussels


The Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus Elena Kupchina heading the Belarusian delegation took part in the fifth round of consultations on the modernization with the European Union in Brussels on 9 March. It is reported by the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry.

The EU delegation was led by the Head of Unit for Relations with Russia, Director for Eastern Europe, Central Asia, regional cooperation and the OSCE European External Action Service Gunnar Wiegand.

“In the course of consultations, the main purpose of which was to determine the best forms of cooperation between the government of Belarus and the EU, human rights issues were discussed,” reports the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The EU calls the last five rounds of consultations “an intermediate phase” of cooperation with Belarus. This format of a dialogue appeared after the official Minsk refused to cooperate with the EU within the framework of the previous format – “Dialogue on modernization of Belarus.” At that time the Belarusian Foreign Ministry explained its decision by saying that “Dialogue on modernization” had been developed without the participation of Belarusian official representatives.

As TUT.BY reported, the fifth round of consultations in Brussels was devoted to human rights issues, as well as to the judicial and electoral reforms. The previous four rounds were less “political”; they discussed investment, transport, energy, environmental protection, logistics, education, etc.

During her visit to Brussels Elena Kupchina also discussed with the European Commission and the European External Action Service (EEAS) further development of relations between the EU and Belarus. In particular, the Deputy Foreign Minister met Johannes Hahn, the Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and Helga Schmidt, the EEAS Deputy Secretary General who recently visited Minsk.

At the request of TUT.BY the talks between Elena Kupchina and Johannes Hahn were commented by its press secretary (and the EEAS press secretary) Maja Kocijancic. According to her, the meeting was part of “our regular contacts with the Belarusian side.” As Kocijancic admitted, the meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere. The parties discussed the relations between Belarus and the EU, the preparation for the “Eastern Partnership” summit in Riga (in May 2015) and the future of the “Eastern Partnership”.

As for the recently launched consultations on the examination of the European Neighbourhood Policy, Elena Kupchina delivered a written reply to Johannes Hahn that says the EU proposals will be considered, added Kocijancic. According to her, at the meeting the European Commissioner also raised the issue of political prisoners.

Text by TUT.BY

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