Belarus and Russia to update the Union State Treaty program
Prime Minister Syarhey Rumas announced Friday that he and his Russian counterpart may initial an updated program of action to implement the Treaty on the Formation of the Union State of Belarus and Russia in early September.
In an interview that was broadcast on the television channel Belarus One, Mr. Rumas said that the two countries’ governments had yet to do much work for the heads of state to be able to sign a package of new bilateral agreements this December.
According to Mr. Rumas, he told Alyaksandr Lukashenka at their meeting on August 23 that the program had been almost completely agreed upon by the two governments. “The head of state gave general approval to the approaches that the government had agreed upon with its [Russian] colleagues,” he said, adding that the draft program was expected to be submitted to Mr. Lukashenka on August 27.
Mr. Rumas said that the draft program envisaged the creation of 28 roadmaps for deeper integration in different economic sectors and provided for no political measures. He promised that it would be made public after it was initialed by the two governments, “so that the public no longer has fears over the issues of sovereignty and others.”
The main objective of the program is to create a single market within the Union State, said the prime minister. “Companies should operate under equal conditions in a single market,” he said. “When we say equal conditions we mean identical energy prices as the main component of companies’ costs. That also means an identical tax burden and identical regulatory requirements for companies.”
The measures should help companies based in one country get access to the other country’s market “without additional barriers,” he added.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in December last year that Moscow was willing to move further in the development of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, which would include the establishment of a common currency-issuing center, a common customs agency, a common judiciary and a common accounts chamber.
The two countries later established a working group to consider proposals for deepening integration within the framework of the Union State. The Russian government submitted its proposals to Belarus in March. Belarus sent its proposals to Moscow the following month.
Speaking during his talks with Vladimir Putin on July 18, Mr. Lukashenka said that all unresolved issues in Belarusian-Russian relations should be resolved by December 8, 2019, the 20th anniversary of the Union State Treaty.