Granting loan depends on integration – Russian finance minister

The decision to provide Belarus with a loan of 600 bln rubles ($9.4 bln) has not yet been made, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Anton Siluanov said on the sidelines of a meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

It depends on the progress in the two countries’ further integration, the top official stressed.

“We are working on a road map for Belarus now. We have the goal of working out more detailed plans within the road map approved by Prime Minister,” news agency TASS quotes Siluanov.

Belarus asked Russia for a loan to refinance its the entire sum of the payments on Russian government loans in 2019, Belarusian Finance Minister Maksim Yermalovich said in early February. According to him, the decision to grant the loan was reached during meetings of the two leaders in 2018. Moreover, the funds totalling to $ 600 mln have been included in Russia’s federal budget, the minister stressed.

By 8 December 2019, the authorities of Belarus and Russia are expected to sign a new agreement on deepening integration.

Belarus set between independence and integration


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.

Moreover, the Belarusian authorities are not going to make public the Belarus-Russia integration program which was signed by the two countries’ prime ministers in early September in order to prevent ‘manipulations’.

The program still has the status of a working document, since the leaders of Belarus and Russia are expected to approve it in December, along with a package of road maps which will include the details of the economic agreements, Economy Minister Dzmitry Krutoy said in a letter of response to opposition MP Alena Anisim.

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.

On the same day, president Lukashenka’s press secretary Natallya Eysmant told the Belarusian newspaper Nasha Niva that the terms ‘confederation’ and ‘federation’ used in the article were nothing but ‘journalistic cliches’. The independence and sovereignty of Belarus and Russia are ‘sacred’, she added.

FM Makey on integration with Russia: I do not see any danger for Belarus