Meeting with EIB Vice President Vazil Hudak
The cooperation between Belarus and the European Investment Bank (EIB) is increasingly vibrant, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with EIB Vice President Vazil Hudak on 5 August.
“It is important for me to meet with you because I also want to thank you for the cooperation that we have today. I assure you that the intensity of this cooperation and the level that we have today are unprecedented,” the head of state stressed.
He remarked that the framework agreement with the EIB was signed not long ago, in May 2017. “I am for this framework agreement. The portfolio of the European Investment Bank in Belarus made up €335 million in the past 18 months,” the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the EIB sponsors a number of serious projects in Belarus. “I also want to thank other banks which are co-investors in these projects,” he said.
The President mentioned the renovation and modernization of the M7/E28 Minsk-Oshmyany-the border of Lithuania (Kamenny Log) motorway, the renovation of a corresponding border checkpoint. “This road will be as good as the roads to Gomel, Mogilev, Grodno. This is a key to logistic attractiveness. You know that there are some problems with the Baltic direction,” the Belarusian leader said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the transport infrastructure is develoved not only in the interests of Belarus. It also plays a big role internationally. “We understand that this thousand-kilometer-long window through Belarus is very important for Europe, Russia, China. The roads that we are improving with you are crucial arteries for Belarus and for the whole world,” he remarked.
The President added that many international motorways connecting Minsk with oblast capitals have been already renovated. “There is great infrastructure. I think that sooner or later we will start using the north-south road. It gives access to Saint Petersburg and Odessa. It is in a very good condition in Belarus, but there are problems in other places. I think that this road will be in demand. Of course, the road can be used now. However, even a better road is needed for our region,” the head of state said.
The president spoke in positive terms about EIB’s participation in environmental projects. “I love nature, I was born in a small village. This is a very important aspect for me,” he said.
In this context, Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned the project to renovate the Minsk sewage treatment plant, improve the utility service sector. “The most important thing is that you help us modernize our boiler houses in the utility sector. There are many forests in Belarus, we have enough wood. However, our major fuels are natural gas and oil products. This is not normal,” the President said.
“There are many projects. I am really grateful to you for it and I hope that our cooperation will remain increasingly vibrant. I hope that we will find new areas for joint work which will benefit your bank and Belarus. I am ready to be the guarantor, just like for other foreign banks. Our country has always been a reliable partner. Belarus has a rather small but efficient history of cooperation with the EIB. The investment portfolio reached a substantial amount of €335 million in the past 18 months,” the head of state concluded.
Vazil Hudak, in turn, thanked Aleksandr Lukashenko for praising the work of the European Investment Bank in Belarus. “Of course, this results from the fact that Belarus is a dynamically developing country with interesting investment opportunities,” he said and added that the EIB is focused on long-term investments with a period of financing of 15-25 years.
“Such long investments are meant only for countries with sustainable development, for countries where investors are optimistic about development prospects and stability. It is very important in the modern world which is full of various threats and instability. I want to thank you for guiding the country is this direction,” Vazil Hudak stressed.