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29-09-2016, 13:42

EU ready to help Belarus raise investment

The European Union is ready to help Belarus attract foreign investment, Head of Unit at the Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission Vassilis Maragos said at the forum titled as Broadening the Horizons: Investment, Finance, Development in Minsk on 29 September, BelTA has learned.

“The European Union is ready to provide assistance to Belarus in generating investment,” stressed the representative of the European Commission. He added, however, that it is important for the EU to see what Belarus is ready to do in the sector for further reforms, creation of favorable conditions for investment generation, improving its reputation.

Belarus' main advantages include the country's highly-educated people, skilled labor force, competitive products, rapidly developing IT sector, rich traditions in mechanical engineering and processing industry. The reforms held by the Belarusian government helped improve the situation in the private sector, the EC representative stressed. Today Belarus attaches more attention to the development of small and medium-sized enterprises. This is also a positive signal, he added.

The EU develops cooperation with Belarus on a number of projects in energy, SMEs promotion, and IT. “We are facing new challenges and can address them together. The experience of West European countries can be a great example for Belarus, and we are ready to cooperate with you. Thus, we will be able to reach bigger results on the back of the common goals, including in ensuring security worldwide,” he stressed.

Vassilis Maragos said that preparations for a number of partner agreements are underway. “They envisage financing to the total tune of €30 million. We will continue stepping up these efforts. This will include management of migration flows, small and medium-sized business development,” he explained.

Today Belarus has an opportunity to attract the funds of the European Investment Bank, the EC representative added. “We will work with the bank, the government of Belarus and local authorities in order to identify real investment projects that can be supported. We are also considering the possibility of providing grants through the European Neighborhood fund,” the expert said.

Minsk is hosting the Broadening the Horizons: Investment, Finance, Development forum on 29-30 September. Experts are discussing strategies to attract foreign investment to Belarus, prospects of investment cooperation with the financial institutions of the EU, the Eurasian Economic Union and China, opportunities for attracting U.S. investors in the implementation of projects, and other issues of current importance. It is expected that a roadmap will be developed to outline the main directions for joint action to improve the institutional environment for expanding investment and funding opportunities, which, in turn, will promote the development of the public and private sectors of the Belarusian economy.

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