The war in Georgia in August 2008 marked a watershed in the EU-Belarus relationship. The earlier EU policy of isolation and sanctions on the post-Soviet region changed to become a policy of engagement. For the EU, cooperation in foreign trade, investments, visa issues, etc. are subject to the condition of fostering respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Belarus, for its part, does not consider the relationship with the EU to be of prime importance. It is more of a political tool to counter-balance the influence of Russia and to improve the country's economic development.
In PRIF Report No. 101 (2011), "The EU and Belarus Engaged - No Wedding in Sight" András Rácz, senior research fellow at the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs in Budapest, analyzes the intensity of EU-Belarus cooperation today, studies conspicuous improvements in human rights and fundamental freedoms, and makes recommendations on how to shape relations in the future.
The report is available at PRIF for EUR 10,- and can be downloaded for free (pdf file).