Harsh Response From Minsk: Belarus Withdrew From EU’s Eastern Partnership, Prepared More Surprises For Brussels

Harsh Response From Minsk: Belarus Withdrew From EU's Eastern Partnership, Prepared More Surprises For Brussels

Illustrative image: Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R) and his Belarus’ counterpart Alexander Lukashenko walk in as they attend a session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 3, 2015. AFP PHOTO / POOL / SERGEI KARPUKHIN

On June 28, Belarus suspended its participation in the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative, according to the statement by the press service of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. Such a move was a response to the introduction of new sanctions against 78 persons and 8 companies on June 21.

The Permanent Representative of the Republic of Belarus to the EU was recalled to Minsk for consultations. The head of the EU Delegation to the Republic of Belarus, Dirk Schubel, was also invited to come back to Brussels for consultations in order to explain to his leadership the position of the Belarusian side.

Belarus also began the procedure of suspending of the Readmission Agreement with the EU that was the consent of the sides to receive back their citizens who were subject to deportation from another side. It was intended to stem illegal migration.

The Belarusian Foreign Ministry said Monday that the government will also impose a travel ban on unspecified EU officials who were involved in drafting the sanctions against Belarus.

In November 2020, Belarus has already reduced its participation in the EU’s Eastern Partnership initiative in response to sanctions introduced by some EU countries.

“We see that there are attempts to politicize a number of infrastructure, interregional projects within the framework of this initiative. Therefore, it was decided to lower the level of Belarus ‘participation in this initiative to an expert level,” Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei explained at the time.

The Eastern Partnership that is aimed at political association and economic integration with the EU now includes 5 post-Soviet countries: Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian Foreign Ministry stressed out in its statement that the proposals of the Belarusian side on the development of dialogue, interaction and cooperation with the European Union on the basis of the principles of equality and mutual respect remain valid.

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