PM Rumas: Belarus-Russia integration program will be ready in November

The Belarus-Russia integration program will soon be prepared and handed over to the leaders of the two countries, Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhei Rumas promises.

“Currently, the ministries and governments are doing their best to finally present what we have worked out to the heads of state in November,” news agency Interfax quotes Rumas.

He stresses, however, that it is hard to ‘make the stances closer’ as the parties have different opinions on many issues. In total, the expert groups are simultaneously working on 31 roadmaps that have a bearing on all economy sectors.

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.

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