The presidential election marred by large-scale fraud on 9 August 2020, the drastic deterioration in the human rights situation in Belarus since then, the political instrumentalisation of refugees and migrants by the Belarusian regime, and the support shown for the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine are straining bilateral relations with Germany and with the European Union severely.
Against this background, cooperation with state agencies in Belarus is reduced to a minimum. At the same time, the German Government has significantly increased its support for Belarusian civil society, including as part of an action plan. The long-term goals of bilateral cultural cooperation relate to education, science and the promotion of the German language as well as joint projects in music and the performing arts. On the orders of the Belarusian authorities, the cultural organisations Goethe-Institut, German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and Central Agency for Schools Abroad have had to temporarily suspend their activities in the country. There are still close ties between Belarus and Germany in the civil-society sector, for example in the field of Chernobyl assistance or societal reconciliation against the background of Nazi crimes.
In 2021, bilateral trade with Germany amounted to around €2.3 billion; Belarusian trade with the EU as a whole was worth just under €13 billion. The leading Belarusian exports in 2021 were oil products, furniture and furniture parts, and iron and steel. Bilateral trade has been significantly lower in 2022 so far due to the sanctions imposed on Belarus in the context of the Russian war of aggression.
About 150 German companies are at present active in Belarus, despite sometimes difficult economic and administrative conditions which have worsened with the current domestic crisis.