21 Sep 2011

Belarus’ economy in tatters: what role for the EU?

Hrant Kostanyan


Published in Eastern Partnership Community portal (co-authored with Vanessa Boas).

Once dubbed ‘Europe’s last dictatorship,’ Belarus has remained the most authoritarian regime in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. The EU’s relations with Minsk are the least developed among all its eastern neighbours and most fraught with mistrust and resistance. Contact between the EU and Belarus has thus predominantly been within a multilateral framework as bilateral relations still lack legal grounds. In contrast, Belarus has pursued integration with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in general and with Russia in particular. The most recent example of the latter is the joining of the Customs Union with Russia and Kazakhstan in July 2010.

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