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First EU-Belarus dialogue on economic and financial issues

12.10.2011 - The first EU-Belarus technical level dialogue on economic and financial issues was held in Minsk on 6 October 2011.

On 6 October 2011, representatives of the Directorate General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission visited Belarus to meet with experts of the Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus. They conducted the first Economic and Financial Dialogue between the EU and Belarus.

The aim of the technical level dialogue was to exchange information on recent macroeconomic developments and policy challenges and the structural economic reform strategy both in Belarus and the EU.

Visiting officials made presentations on trends in the EU economy and policy response to the crisis in the euro area public debt markets. Belarus' officials presented overviews of the macroeconomic situation in Belarus, recent monetary and fiscal policies, the privatisation and economic liberalisation agenda and spoke about the current and prospective impact of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia on EU-Belarus trade and economic relations.

The EU side underlined the importance for Belarus of adopting bold macroeconomic adjustment policies (especially in the fiscal, monetary, exchange rate areas) to overcome the country's vulnerable balance of payments position and bring inflation under control and to press ahead with economic liberalisation and structural reforms to complete the transition towards a fully-fledged market economy. On the macroeconomic side, special concern was expressed about the recent acceleration in inflation and the need to reunify and normalise the foreign exchange market. Regarding the structural reform agenda, EU representatives underlined the need to continue to make progress with privatisation and enterprise restucturing, price liberalisation, and financial sector reform, including the reduction of the weight of bank lending under government programmes. The combination of these measures should help the Belarussian economy overcome the current crisis while improving its efficiency and competitive position on world markets.

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