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Euro-Belarusian relations
European Union   Belarus
Map indicating location of European Union and Belarus
     European Union      Belarus
European Union
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This article is part of the series:
Foreign relations of the European Union


  

Belarus and the European Union refers to relations between the Republic of Belarus and the European Union. Mutual relations were initially established after the European Union recognised Belarusian independence in 1991. After the rise to power of Alexander Lukashenko in 1994, the relationship between Minsk and the EU deteriorated and has remained cold and distanced. Relations have started to improve since October 2008.[1][2][3][4][5]

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Legal framework

Although the European Union and Belarus signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA) in 1995, which was intended to govern the mutual political and economic relations, this agreement was not ratified by the EU. Furthermore, the European Union has excluded Belarus from its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), which was originally designed to establish a "ring of friends" in the Union's geographical proximity. Brussels has claimed this exclusion to be a direct response to the establishment of an authoritarian regime under President Lukashenko. However, EU-Belarus trade relations are still covered by the Union's Generalized System of Preferences and the most favoured nation (MFN) provisions of the 1989 Agreement between the EU and the Soviet Union.[6] Belarus is amongst the few states in Europe that have not asked for membership in the European Union. Similarly, the European Union has not offered membership to Minsk.

In October 2009, a poll conducted by the independent NISEPI institute in Belarus found that 44.1 percent of the Belarussian people would vote Yes in a referendum to join the EU, compared to 26.7 percent one year ago. Local experts are linking the swing to more pro-EU messages in Belarusian state media, Polish daily Rzeczpospolita says.

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