"The Nordic Council of Ministers will increase and deepen its commitment to Belarus starting with the development of democracy and civic society," said Jan Vapaavuori, Finland's Minister for Nordic Co-operation at the Nordic Council Session.
Vapaavuori also made it clear that the current political situation in Belarus precluded the establishment of a Nordic office in Minsk, as demanded by the Nordic Council at the Session in Stockholm in 2009.
"The Nordic Council of Ministers' office in Vilnius and the Swedish Embassy in Minsk will take on a larger role in the future. We also believe that this will give the Council of Ministers the opportunity to test out what kind of activities are possible in Belarus and later increase our presence," said the Finnish Minister for Co-operation.
Jan Vapaavuori presented the new Nordic guidelines for Belarus activities 2011-2012 during the Nordic Council's Session on Wednesday 3 November. The priorities are education, young people, media, culture and cross-border projects.
"The guidelines also include support for the Nordic Council's contacts with Belarusian politicians. The Nordic Council of Ministers supports the exile Belarus university, European Humanities University, in Vilnius in close collaboration with the EU Commission, 14 European governments and the USA," concluded Jan Vapaavuori.