President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko has confirmed Belarus' intention to build tight relations with the European Union. The President made the relevant statement as he met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain Miguel Moratinos on March 30, reported Belta.
"Located in the centre of Europe, we would like to have the best relations with our neighbours - the European Union. You should agree that living in the XXI century and looking at each other over the fence is not a very adequate prospect," remarked the head of state.
The President underscored that "Motivation is very strong: today the European Union accounts for half of the trade turnover while the East accounts for the other half".
At the same time Alexander Lukashenko believes that the level of the mutual trade between Belarus and Spain is insufficiently high. Last year the trade between the two countries amounted to $219 million. "The trade turnover cannot satisfy either you or us because the potential of our countries is much larger," he remarked.
The Belarusian leader thanked the government of Spain and the country as a whole for providing colossal aid in overcoming consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe, for annual recreation of Belarusian children in Spain. Spanish charity organisations and families welcome around 3,000 children for recreation every year. Those are mainly children from low-income families as well as children, who live in Chernobyl-affected areas (the third position after Italy and Germany). "It means a lot," believes the President.
The Belarusian head of state remarked that during his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain he intends to discuss the bilateral relations between Belarus and Spain as well as prospects of relations with the European Union taking into account Spain's forthcoming presidency in the European Union. In his opinion, Miguel Moratinos' visit to Belarus "will allow him to see with his own eyes in what direction this 'mysterious' country located in the centre of Europe goes to".
In turn, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain remarked it was a historical visit for him and delivered warm greetings from King of Spain Juan Carlos I and the Prime Minister of the country. He underscored that it is extremely important to establish contacts with Belarus for Spain, the existing president of the Council of Europe and the future president of the European Union.
Miguel Moratinos was confident the visit would give a boost to the development of bilateral relations in all areas. He said that an agreement had been reached to arrange a visit of Belarusian businessmen to Spain in the near future and later on a visit of Spanish businessmen to Belarus. "Your geographical position, the proximity to the European Union and the East, makes Belarus important. It is remarkable that you have such good relations with the Russian Federation. Undoubtedly, the chances of having the same good relations with the European Union are very big," stressed the Minister.