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Economic reform in Belarus: how can we overcome old legacies and dependency and what can Europe do?

Political change in Belarus also requires deep economic reforms - what next for the country?


Aleś Alachnovič

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s representative for economic reforms; Vice-President, CASE Belarus,

Vassilis Maragos

Head of Unit, European Commission, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (NEAR),

video and audio recordings


The rigged presidential elections held on 9 August 2020 triggered the unprecedented wave of popular protests in Belarus, which demanded democratization. However, parallelly to the need of political changes Belarus also requires deep economic reforms. The economy of Belarus remains the least reformed in Central and Eastern Europe, that is, it still has substantial structural and institutional legacies of central planning and command system. Since 2013, the economy has stopped growing. It struggles with continuous macroeconomic imbalances caused, among others, by loss-making unreformed state-owned enterprises, which have led to cyclical macroeconomic crises. Country remains dependent on external aid, in the first instance, of Russia.

At this joint Bruegel - CASE Belarus webinar on "Belarusian Economic Reforms" we discussed the key economic challenges faced by Belarus, in particular: the current economic situation on Belarus, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, directions of economic reforms, which could eliminate chronic sources of macroeconomic disequilibrium and return economic growth, and finally, the role of international community, including the EU, in supporting economic reforms in Belarus.

This event was organised in cooperation with CASE Belarus.