Belarusian Experts on Transport Present Results of the Project "EU and Belarus: Sharing Knowledge" in Brussels

The Office for a Democratic Belarus is finalising the current stage of its programme "EU and Belarus: Sharing Knowledge" aimed at exchange of expertise among Belarusian specialists in different areas and their colleagues from the EU Member States and countries of Eastern Partnership Initiative.

In the course of two years Belarusian experts on transport, energy, and higher education participated in the international seminars, round-tables, and study tours sharing their own and learning from the  most successful transformation experience of their colleagues.

One of the results achieved under the project, a 'Concept on Harmonisation of  Passengers' Transportation by Automobile Transport with the EU Norms and Standards' , was presented in Brussels on 14 October by the Office for a Democratic Belarus and its partner organisation, the Belarusian Union of Transport Workers.

The document aims at laying the foundation for the future transformation of Belarus' public transport system; summarises the experience of the EU, Belarus, and the most successful in terms of sectoral reforms among the Eastern Partners - Moldova. It also offers recommendations on how to improve Belarusian legislation in this sector.

Bellow we present a short summary of the concept in a format of three questions and answers, while the entire text of the document in Russian is available at this link.

Why to Harmonise Belarus' Legislations with the EU norms?

Officially, Belarus has never announced any EU membership aspirations, consequently, no harmonisation of its legislation with the EU norms is viewed as a development path by the country's leadership. However, Belarus takes active part in other integration processes based  on standards and norms earlier adopted by the World Trade Organisation and the European Union. Should Belarus stay committed to its obligations  under the Customs Union, the approximation with the EU norms and standards will come inevitably though indirectly.

Why Joining International Agreements Could Be an Option?

Among other recommendations, experts advise Belarus to join INTERBUS and several UNECE conventions. International agreements could play 'soft power' when it comes to harmonisation since they do not require a verbatim duplication of norms in the national laws. At the same time joining the agreements allows to create a legislation domain  that would take into account internationally recognised approaches in transport management encourage more active participation of a signatory state in the international trade of services.

Why it is important to borrow not only legislation but the implementation mechanisms?

Analysis conducted by the Belarusian experts showed that Belarusian legislation in general shares the European approach however lacks the proper implementation mechanisms undermining the effectiveness of transport management. The concept suggests ways how to draft new legislation (the law «On Transport Services Management» ) that would take into account these and other challenges.  In general, Belarusian experts propose a scheme that aims at improving the work of public transport in Belarus and introduce the integrated mobility approach in public transport management.