The European Commission`s review, which is due to be approved at the bloc`s new meeting of foreign ministers on 7 December, states that “bilateral cooperation activities, meetings and contacts with Belarusian state actors should in principle be reduced until the authorities respect the principles of democracy, the rule of law and human rights.” Although the European Union and Belarus signed a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (APC) in 1995 to govern mutual political and economic relations, this agreement has not been ratified by the EU.  In addition, the European Union has excluded Belarus from its European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), initially intended to establish a “circle of friends” in the geographical vicinity of the Union. Brussels called the exclusion a direct response to the establishment of an authoritarian regime led by President Lukashenko. However, trade relations between the EU and Belarus continue to fall under the EU`s system of generalised preferences and the most favourable provisions of the 1989 EU-Soviet Union agreement.  Belarus is one of the few countries in Europe that has not applied to join the European Union. Similarly, the European Union has not proposed Minsk membership.  Belarus has consistently sought to strengthen its economic and political relations with Russia, as it is one of the founding members of the State of the Union (formerly “the State of the Union of Russia and Belarus”). Although trade between the EU and Belarus has intensified in recent years, the EU has suspended measures for a closer economic partnership with Belarus until Belarus` political and civil conditions improve. The European Commission recommends that the EU reduce its cooperation with Belarus, including on trade and security, while maintaining or even increasing support for civil society and environmental protection.
In 1991, the European Economic Commission recognised Belarus` independence and Belarus is part of several bilateral and multilateral treaties with the European Union.  In 1995, Belarus and the European Union signed a partnership and cooperation agreement, but it was not ratified by the EU. Belarus is a member of trade agreements based on the eu`s generalised preference system and the most favoured nation.  Belarus is also part of the EU`s Eastern Partnership.  The ultimate goal of EU-Belarus cooperation is to improve the stability of Belarus, the well-being of its people and, in particular, its progress towards the common values of good governance, the rule of law and human rights. In this direction, there are both positive and unresolved problems. The memo prepared by the BNP describes the most important and urgent issues on the current agenda from the point of view of members in the areas of human rights, the environment, social dialogue, higher education, SMEs and the CSO environment, as well as some necessary measures to address them. One of the most promising themes of the development of cooperation is the debate between the parties on negotiations for a new bilateral agreement between the EU and Belarus.