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MEMO/12/226

Brussels, 29 March 2012

Launching European Dialogue on Modernisation with Belarus

Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle today launched the European Dialogue on Modernisation with Belarusian society at a meeting in Brussels with representatives of Belarusian civil society and political opposition. This follows the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council last week welcoming the idea of launching such a dialogue with the Belarusian society.

I am glad to be able to launch a positive agenda on Belarus in these troubled times, together with representatives from the Belarusian opposition and civil society. I hope our joint and committed work will help clarifying our understanding on the vision of what a modern and democratic Belarus could look like and about what would be needed to take us there,” Commissioner Füle said after the launching event. "At the same time we deplore the fact that some of the participants have been prevented by the authorities to come to Brussels. But this will not prevent the views of these people to be taken into account and become integral part of our dialogue. You can be assured that we will make this dialogue inclusive for all who have a vision of better, European future for Belarus," he added.

The European Dialogue on Modernisation is a multi-stakeholder exchange of views and ideas between the EU and representatives of the Belarusian civil society and political opposition on necessary reforms for the modernisation of Belarus and on the related potential development of relations with the EU, as well as possible EU support in this regard.

The dialogue will focus on four key areas for EU-Belarus relations: political reform; reform of the judiciary and people-to-people contacts; economic and sector policy issues; and trade and market reform. The dialogue will be conducted in stages, with a first stage running until the parliamentary elections in Belarus in September.


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