№12 (November - December 2019)
A year of negotiations with Russia over the terms of cooperation and integration yielded no results. Belarus did not manage to turn its natural gas-related bargaining chip into any tangible deal.
As expected, the parliamentary elections did not cause the relationship with the European Union to leave the positive track. The level of meetings markedly increased; the parties got very close to the signing of the visa facilitation and readmission agreements. The period saw cooperation with the key financial institutions — the EBRD and EIB — expand.
The main developments in Belarus’s relationship with China were associated with the export of Belarusian goods. A USD 500 million loan in renminbi was successfully raised.
Contacts between the U.S. and Belarus remained dense, the U.S. being increasingly interested in Belarus as a country seeking to give up on its exclusive focus on Russia.
The intensity of bilateral contacts with Ukraine has also increased. Economic engagement was actively evolving as well. At the same time, old aggravators remained: the parties’ vulnerability to media attacks, and the struggle of Ukrainian and EEU businesses for markets.
Security tensions subsided a little. However, the main trend — the regional arms race — remains in place. The Belarusian government is overall quite successful in addressing the challenge of promoting the country’s security in adverse circumstances. Belarus started to receive more information about NATO activities and may even be engaged in joint exercises in the foreseeable future.