The European Commission presented to the Council on Friday an outline for a comprehensive plan of economic support to a future democratic Belarus.
The EU Commission stated that the plan of up to €3 billion, reflects the European Union’s commitment to support the Belarusian people’s wishes for a peaceful democratic transition in the country following the Presidential elections of August 2020, which were neither free nor fair.
“Only once Belarus embarks on a democratic transition, the EU will activate the €3 billion package, a mix of grants and loans leveraging public and private investments, to help Belarus to stabilise its economy, reform its institutions to make them more democratic and help increase the economy’s resilience, growth potential and job creation,” said the EU Commission, according to a press release.
The outline highlights several indicative measures by the EU to enhance Belarus’ resilience. These are:
- Through direct financial support, to boost the Belarus’s economic recovery. The EU expects to mobilise up to €5 billion in EU loans as well as public and private investments with its initiatives.
- To mobilise a transition package of up to €400 million in grant assistance under the Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation (NCIDI)-Global Europe to support the democratic transition and address key structural reforms.
- To invest in sustainable infrastructures and the green and digital transformation. In partnership with International Financial Institutions, the EU expects to mobilise up to €100 million in grant funding to leverage up to €1 billion of key public and private investments in this area.
European Commission and the EU will mobilise all tools available in cooperation with International Financing Institutions to prioritise support to five key flagship investments:
Flagship 1: Supporting an innovative & competitive economy including through direct support to 20,000 SMEs
Flagship 2: Improving transport connectivity & facilitating trade at EU-Belarus borders
Flagship 3: Boosting innovation & digital transformation, including through an Eastern Partnership IT school in Minsk
Flagship 4: Supporting a green Belarus, including through support to energy efficiency, waste management and infrastructure
Flagship 5: Investing in a democratic, transparent & accountable Belarus
“We will offer to conclude a bilateral framework agreement in order to reinforce the longer-term relations between the EU and a democratic Belarus,” said the EU Commission.
“To the people of Belarus: we see and hear your desire for change, for democracy, and for a bright future. And to the Belarusian authorities: no amount of repression, brutality or coercion will bring any legitimacy to your authoritarian regime,” said European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen.
“It is time to change course. When – and we believe it is a case of when, not if – Belarus starts its peaceful democratic transition, the EU will be there to accompany it,” added von der Leyen.