Russia had ‘absolutely unacceptable’ proposals on integration – Belarus FM

The leaders of Belarus and Russia may agree a roadmap of the two countries’ integration by December 8, but it will not include a clause on the single currency, Belarusian Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makey said in an interview with RBC.

According to him, the document does not stupulate for in-depth political integration. At the same time, the provision for working on a would-be single tax code exists.

“Before talking over the introduction of some single currency and establishing a single emission centre, one should build up normal economic and trade cooperation and remove all barriers and obstacles in the first place,” Uladzimir Makey said.

Holding the discussion of the integration plan, the Russian side put forward some ‘absolutely unacceptable’ proposals, including the creation of several supra-national bodies, the minister stressed.

It is vital the current problems be solved before going to the length of further integration, Makey believes.

“We badly want to all these sensitive issues that are obvious and out in the open to be solved [by the parties]. I think that if they are not tackled, it will be difficult to talk about the signing of the program including the next steps, decause we do not understand the logic of our partners,” Foreign Minister said.

No details revealed

A week ago, 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.

Belarus set between independence and integration

Controversial reports

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.

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

New information about integration with Russia