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European Dialogue On Modernization With Belarus Launched

EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Štefan Füle on Thursday launched the European Dialogue on Modernization with Belarusian society at a meeting in Brussels with representatives of the country's civil society and political Opposition. This follows the conclusions of the Foreign Affairs Council last week welcoming the idea of launching such a dialogue.

Fule said he hoped "our joint and committed work will help clarify 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." He deplored the measures taken by the Belarusian authorities blocking the travel of some of the representatives to Brussels to take part in the meeting. But he vowed that it "will not prevent the views of these people to be taken into account and become integral part of our dialogue."

The European Dialogue 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 modernization of the former Soviet Republic 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 the first running until the parliamentary elections in Belarus in September.

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