Belarus PM: Only 16 issues unapproved in road maps for integration

Only 16 issues remain unapproved in the integration negotiations with the Russian Federation, Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhei Rumas said in the run-up to Friday’s meeting with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, reports.

“In keeping with the road maps, we have 16 issues that have not been agreed by now. My immediate goal is to submit three or four issues on which we failed to agree for the consideration of the heads of state. The ultimate goal is to gwt together upon all issues. Given that these issues are very important, the heads of State will be discussing them,” Rumas stressed.

On December 7, Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka are expected to hold talks in Sochi. Earlier, the Belarusian leader left open the possibility of signing the integration agreement.

On September 16, the Russian newspaper Kommersant presented some details of the project of the further integration of Belarus and Russia, which was reportedly agreed by the prime ministers of the two states on September, 6. The integration may be ‘deeper’ than that in the European Union, the article reads. If the information is anything to go by, the document provides for the partial economic integration at the same level as the EU member states have; in some fields, the integration will be similar to that of a confederation or even federation.

In late September, Anatol Hlaz, Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said that the deepening of the integration of Belarus and Russia would not go beyond the limits of the Union Treaty of 1999. However, it should be noted that this document, among other things, suggests a single currency, a single parliament, a Council of Ministers, a court and symbols. In addition, the union of the two countries should have a single monetary, currency, tax and price policy, common rules of competition and consumer protection, joint transport and energy systems, a single trade and customs tariff policy, a single legislation on foreign investment and other functions.

In late October, Syarhei Rumas said that the Belarus-Russia integration program would soon be prepared and handed over to the leaders of the two countries. However, the Belarusian authorities are not going to make public the program signed by the two prime ministers in early September in order to prevent ‘manipulations’.

In fear of the country’s possibly losing sovereignty, Belarusian opposition forces urge compatriots to protest against the ‘deeper integration’.

Turning point: Lukashenka, Putin deciding upon two countries’ integration