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Makei: EU wants to decide on Belarus’ socioeconomic development

MINSK, 3 December (BelTA) – The European Union wants to be the one to shape the social and economic development of Belarus, Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei said in an interview to the Russian newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda. The interview is available on the official website of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, BelTA has learnt.

“The European Union wants to be the one to determine the social and economic development of our country. Naturally, it does not want to bear responsibility for possible consequences,” the Foreign Minister said. He emphasized that the interference with domestic affairs of Belarus is totally unacceptable; Belarus wants to exercise its sovereign right to determine its development path independently.

“We are convinced that the key to resolving the current situation in our relations is in the hands of the European Union. Unlike the EU, we do not interfere with domestic matters of our neighbors. It is the European Union that bears the responsibility for the loss of trust in the dialogue. Therefore, it should rectify the situation,” Vladimir Makei believes.

He noted that Belarus is ready for the dialogue: “On our part we will welcome Brussels’ readiness to do something practical to promote equal and respectful relations with us. Entire Europe would benefit from that. However, it seems the EU has not realized it yet”.

The Foreign Minister reminded that in 2011 the European Union extended sanctions against a number of Belarusian officials and companies (243 persons and 32 companies). “Nevertheless, economic cooperation between Belarusian and European companies is gaining momentum,” the Foreign Minister said. He informed that in January-September 2012 the bilateral trade stood at $21.4 billion (up by 22.3% compared to the same period a year ago). The export to the EU made up $14.9 billion, the import was estimated at $6.5 billion.

“Our trade and economic cooperation with the European Union is mutually beneficial. The removal of existing political barriers would give a greater impetus to this cooperation. Unfortunately, the European Union is still guided by old stereotypes,” Vladimir Makei said.