Minsk Forum XVI
22-24 November 2018
The Minsk Forum XVI "Belarus and the EU - The Future of Partnership: Dialogue, Development, Digitisation" was held for the sixteenth time from 22 to 24 November 2018 in Minsk.
More than 300 high-ranking guests, including politicians, diplomats, experts and NGOs representatives from Belarus, Germany and other EU countries met in the capital of Belarus on the invitation the German-Belarusian society (dbg). Under the motto "Dialogue – Development – Digitisation" the guests discussed the relations between Belarus, Germany and the EU.
Since its founding in 1997, the Minsk Forum has been a unique platform for exchanging views and ideas for political, economic, social and political representatives from Belarus, the neighbouring countries and the EU. Representatives of the government, the opposition, civil society, culture and business appreciate the open dialogue format. In his opening speech, the Chairman of the Minsk Forum, Prof. Rainer Lindner, paid tribute to the steps towards rapprochement between Germany and Belarus in the political year 2018 and the constructive role of Belarus in the EU's Eastern Partnership. In the coming year of 2019, it is time to take stock after 10 years of the Eastern Partnership.
Aleh Krauchanka, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Belarus; Dirk Wiese, MdB, Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership Countries, Federal Government of the Republic of Germany; Ambassador Michael Siebert, Representative for Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia, German Federal Foreign Office; Ambassador Jan Hofmokl, Director for Eastern Europe and
Representative for Eastern Partnership, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland took part at the Minsk Forum for the first time. The patron of the Minsk Forum, Peter Dettmar, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Republic of Belarus, and Ambassador Andrea Wiktorin, Head of the European Union Representation in the Republic of Belarus, were honored for their long-standing support of the Minsk Forum.
"The Minsk Forum has always kept the communication channels open, even in the most difficult times," - said the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Belarus Krauchanka. "The focus of our efforts should be the conclusion of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement," - said Krauchanka on relations between Belarus and the EU. With regard to relations with Germany, he spoke of a "positive dynamic of our relations". The Federal Government Coordinator for Intersocietal Cooperation with Russia, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership Countries, Dirk Wiese, expressed his hope that Belarus would be a member of the Council of Europe as soon as the conditions were met.
Thematic discussions of the Forum focused on the possibilities for regional cooperation, citizens' participation and local administration; the opportunities for e-governance and open data in Belarus; the economic prospects of Belarus in the areas of mobility, logistics and trade. In the coming year, 2019, an event on Belarus on the New Silk Road is planned. Another focus was the culture and the opportunities and risks of digitisation in Belarus, Germany and Poland. The final discussion dealt with the (self-) positioning of Belarus in the international relations and the opportunities of nation branding. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus informed about the new EU visa regime during the European Games 2019 in Minsk in order to present Belarus to its international guests as a safe and open country.
On the sidelines of the Minsk Forum, Uladsimir Makei, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, received the Chairman of the German-Belarusian Society e (dbg) and the Minsk Forum, Prof. Rainer Lindner, on a bilateral exchange on the political and economic relations of both countries. The Minsk Forum is to be continued in the coming year of 2019, the year of the dbg's 20th anniversary.
Programme Minsk Forum XVI (in English, German and Belarusian)