The opinions assess to what extent LRAs are involved in the preparation of bilateral cooperation agreements with the EU and the implementation of the Eastern Partnership Initiative. The opinion recommends that the EU retains a comprehensive, open and structured dialogue with the Belarusian authorities, opposition movements and civil society.
THE COMMITTEE OF THE REGIONS
- recommends that the EU retain a comprehensive, open and structured dialogue with the Belarusian authorities, opposition movements and civil society and inform Belarus that ratification of the PCA and effective use of all European Neighbourhood Policy Instruments (ENPI) and their economic advantages are still possible if in exchange the government is prepared to make genuine changes and respects the rule of law and human rights and, in addition, if it carries out reforms to strengthen local and regional authorities;
- supports the continuation and extension of current forms of territorial cooperation with Belarus, inter alia, through appropriate INTERREG programmes in EU border regions and encourages the local and regional authorities there and NGOs to become involved in further projects in order to foster cross-border connections and make borders more open;
- strongly urges the Belarusian government to also include representatives of the opposition in the Belarusian delegation to the parliamentary EURONEST assembly;
- invites representatives of Belarusian local and regional authorities and representatives of democratic NGOs to participate as observers in assemblies of local and regional authorities from EU states, in order to promote twinning projects and encourage personal exchange among people;
- recommends even more strongly building on established discussion platforms, e.g. the Civil Society Forum or the Minsk forum at the Minsk office of the Association for International Education and Exchange in Dortmund (IBB Johannes Rau) and extending systematically and providing an institutional framework for dialogue between official representatives from Belarus, the opposition, NGOs, researchers and the media.