Eastern Partnership doesn't breach neighborliness with Russia - EU

MINSK. Oct 19 (Interfax) - Eastern Partnership is not an anti- Russian initiative, European Commission delegation to Belarus charge d'affaires Jean-Eric Holzapfel said at the Monday conference on Belarus- EU trans-boundary cooperation.

He also said that Eastern Partnership was not an attempt to secretly enlarge the European Union.

This project does not deviate from the differentiation principle and does not aim to shatter the neighborhood policy of the EU, he said.

Eastern Partnership will promote gradual integration of partners into the EU economy and broaden the free trade zone, Holzapfel said. This cooperation will intensify political activity, he said, adding that the EU and Ukraine were discussing associated membership.

Belarus and EU have a substantial potential for broadening trade and economic relations, which are being restrained with certain limitations, he said.

The Belarus-EU Partnership and Cooperation Treaty was frozen in 1997, and the EU Generalized System of Preferences was suspended for Belarus. That is because of the situation of working people's rights in Belarus and the position of the International Labor Organization, Holzapfel said.

In his words, the Belarusian return to the EU Generalized System of Preferences will depend on the fulfillment of the twelve demands of the International Labor Organization.



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