chapter  8
19 Pages

The union of Belarus and Russia: The role of NATO and the EU

ByCLELIA RO N T OYA NNI

Belarus has been an exception among Central and East European states in not having expressed any interest in accession to either the EU or NATO, even as a long-term prospect.1 Instead, the Belarusian leadership has chosen a very close relationship with Russia as its primary strategic orientation. This has taken the form of a bilateral integration process, which began with the customs union of 1995, passed through the stages of a Community (treaty of April 1996) and a Union (treaty of April 1997), and resulted in the so-called ‘Union-state’ established by the treaty of December 1999.