Lithuania and Belarus share a centuries-old history, common historical personalities and experience, all of which contribute to the cultural and economic cooperation and the strengthening of human relations between the countries. Geographical proximity and the longest external border of the European Union inevitably led to the fact that Belarus has become one of the most important development cooperation partners.
Lithuania consistently advocates for greater engagement of Belarus in the EU Eastern Partnership initiative, making full use of its opportunities in all areas of cooperation.
Over the last decade, Lithuania has consistently pursued bilateral initiatives in the development of an open civil society in Belarus with special attention paid to youth, independent media, education and gender equality issues. Support is also provided for preservation and popularization of the historical and cultural heritage.
Belarus is one of the key recipients of the Lithuanian aid. Lithuanian development cooperation with Belarus started in 2002. During 2002-2019, Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme supported the implementation of 341 project for more than 4.4 million EUR. In addition, regional projects in the field of strengthening independent media and democratic processes in the Eastern Partnership countries, including Belarus, are being implemented.
In recent years, Lithuanian institutions have been actively participating in EU Twinning projects in Belarus. In 2018, Lithuania together with Germany and Poland started implementing EU Twinning project “Strengthening the National Bank of Belarus” involving representatives of the Bank of Lithuania. This was the first Twinning project in Belarus. In 2020, two EU Twinning projects were awarded to the State Border Guard Service (“Support for the State Border Committee of Belarus in the implementation of the national Integrated Border Management (IBM) strategy and action plan”) and the Customs Department (“Strengthening cooperation between the EU and the Republic of Belarus in the customs sector”) as junior partners.
In 2019, Lithuanian bilateral development assistance to Belarus amounted to 1,768 million euro out of which 105 000 euro was allocated by the Development Cooperation and Democracy Promotion Programme and 1,663 million euro by other Lithuanian institutions.