Belarus is interested in developing cooperation with the European Union, said Mr Oleg Shloma - Head of the European Union and Subregional Organizations Department of the Directorate for Pan-European Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus during the conference "International Technical Cooperation in Belarus: What have we done and how can we do better” on 12 December 2014 at Hotel "Monastyrski".
Oleg Shloma noted that Belarus is interested in developing fruitful political relations with the EU, which is one of the most important partners in the field of trade, economy and other areas. “We are looking for a common ground in all areas of cooperation and try to fill it with the most productive content. Technical cooperation is one of such positive fields that has served as an example of constructive cooperation between Belarus and the EU for many years,” he said. The EU is a major donor of Belarus in the field of technical cooperation and technical assistance. "We are committed to continue to work within the framework of this cooperation because it really makes a significant contribution to the development of the country," said Mr Shloma.
According to him, thanks to the EU technical assistance, Belarus has done a lot in the area of border security, infrastructure development, transport, food, environment, education, culture and many other fields. "The volume of technical assistance has gradually increased. In 2007-2013 more than €70 million was allocated for Belarus for programmes and projects in the field of environment, energy efficiency, standardization, medicine and regional development. The growth trend continues," said Oleg Shloma.
Belarus will take part in the new programming period 2014-2020. It provides for the implementation of projects across three key priorities: social integration, environment and regional economic development. Funding per year will be approximately €20 million. Belarus also continues to participate in the cross-border cooperation programs, in the framework of which regions of Belarus will receive significant additional possibilities for their development.
The organizer of the conference - EU ITA project CDFB together with the NCU. "This is not the first such event in this year. It is important that the conference continued the discussion on the issues raised at the previous meetings,” said Executive Director of the NCU - Ms Dina Goncharova.
The main aim of the event was to have an interactive discussion of the preparation and implementation of projects in Belarus through the dialogue between all stakeholders: Republican bodies of State administration, NGOs, representatives of the ITA programmes, independent experts. Another aim was to lay down the background for the preparation of a to be established regular yearly report on progress of external assistance in Belarus, that would provide a summary and sufficient information on the respective results and problems both to stakeholders of the activities in the country and intersted parties from abroad. A third aim was to conclude the 2014th year together with the main actors of EA in Belarus and prepare for the upcoming tasks in a good mood.
During the plenary session were made presentations by the representatives of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Energy, the Ministry of Emergency Situations, State Committee for Standardization, as well as speakers from Brest, Vitebsk and Grodno executive committees, representatives of NGOs and ITA projects in Belarus. The conference was also attended by representatives of the 2 Joint Technical Secretariats of EU CBC programmes implemented in Belarus: "Latvia-Lithuania-Belarus" and "Poland-Belarus-Ukraine" who expressed their views regarding the improvement of EA effectiveness in Belarus. Mr Ian Grant - senior short-term expert of CDFB project - made his presentation for the participants.
At the end of the Conference was a New Year reception for the participants with presents and a number of surprises prepared by the CDFB project staff.