Despite the conflicts and frictions in their bilateral relations, Russia has for years regularly invested in Belarus. Moscow’s support has become an important factor allowing the Belarusian economic model to continue, which in turn helps maintain the stability of the Belarusian political system.
Clear qualitative changes have taken place in relations between the European Union and its Eastern neighbours over the past year. The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) has been playing a significant part in the context of these changes
The EU enlargement is scheduled to take place in 2004. After this date, it should be a priority for the EU to develop a coherent and comprehensive policy towards its nearest neighbours, i.e. countries bordering the Member States, which cannot join the EU in the nearest future due to their location or weaknesses of their political and economic systems
Of the re-integration processes currently taking place in the former Soviet Union, the formation of a Russian-Belarusian so-called 'Union State' is one of the most advanced. A customs union was formally announced between the two countries as early as 1995 and the process of constructing the Union State itself was launched in December 1999. However, both events were largely driven by the perceived need to match societal demands, without much concrete action and the Union State remained largely 'virtual'.