On 30 January 2018, a group of MOST beneficiaries met with Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for Europtean Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, in Minsk. They shared their experiences and discussed how meeting counterparts in the EU has impacted their lives.
MOST (Mobility Scheme for Targeted People-to-People Contacts) is one of the EU's most successful mobility projects. MOST, which means "bridge" in Belarusian, was launched in October 2015. It offers work trips and internships aimed at fostering long-term cooperation between Belarusian and EU professionals in the areas of culture, education, health, science and technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
The project, implemented by the Goethe Institute and the British Council, has already benefited almost 2,200 Belarusian participants. Due to its success, MOST will be extended for an additional three years when its first phase ends in September 2018.
During his visit to Belarus, Commissioner Hahn met with the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, the Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei to discuss the priorities agreed at the Eastern Partnership Summit in November and the deepening of EU-Belarus relations. Commissioner Hahn also met with opposition leaders.
"Since my last visit in 2015, relations between the EU and Belarus developed and we extended our cooperation considerably," Commissioner Hahn said ahead of the mission. He said his visit would focus on EU-Belarus relations, human rights, regional cooperation, and joint progress on the "20 deliverables for 2020", which aim to bring tangible benefits to the daily lives of Belarusian citizens.
The EU, he added, will continue to work on "increasing engagement with all sectors of Belarus society."
From 2014 to 2017, the EU's assistance package to Belarus under the European Neighbourhood Instrument amounted to €91.5 million.