The EU will provide Belarus with financial aid for combatting COVID-19 on condition that the country complies with WHO recommendations, Josep Borrell, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, told RFE/RL journalist Rikard Jozwiak on April, 30.
When asked whether President Lukashenka’s statement about the coronavirus pandemic being a ‘psychosis’ would not affect Brussels’ relations with Minsk, Borrell said:
“As lately as last week I was talking to the Belarusian Foreign Minister, Mr Makey. And then I stressed that working together within a multilateral system is the most effective way to respond to the coronavirus crisis. I know that the Belarusian authorities are closely cooperating with the World Health Organisation, but more cooperation is needed. Therefore, I urge the Belarusian authorities to stick to the World Health Organisation’s recommendations regarding the pandemic prevention.
And to help them, we have already promised our support, which includes over 60 mln [euros] for the healthcare system. So we give and offer help. But on the other hand, we ask [the Belarusian side] to follow the World Health Organisation’s advice on the pandemic.”
According to the top EU diplomat, it is unacceptable when one side offers help, and the other side fails to fulfil the recommendations implemented by other countries.
On 21 April, Josep Borrell held a phone call with Uladzimir Makey to discuss, among other issues, the EU’s support to Belarus in light of he coronavirus pandemic. As part of the EU’s global response to the coronavirus outbreak. According to the Delegation of the European Union to Belarus, support package for the six Eastern Partnership countries has been put in place totalling €80 mln for immediate needs in the health sector and €883 mln for short-term needs for socio-economic recovery. Out of this support, Belarus will specifically benefit from over €60 mln of redirected bilateral funds.