Belarus president Alyaksandr Lukashenka has delivered his annual State of the Nation Address during the joint session of the House of Representatives and the Council of the Republic. Belsat TV has taken out the most interesting moments of the speech.
“Fighting is still in progress in Donbas. Not a single clause of the Minsk Accords has been implemented in full. Innocent people die. Ukraine is not just a neighbour of us, but a brotherly nation. Belarus welcomed more than 160,000 displaced residents of Ukraine. We are ready to further be of help in the complicated negotiation process.”
Decree on ‘social parasites’
According to Lukashenka 150,000 of 350,000 unemployed persons have been exempted from the tax on parasitism. “Our policy is to make everyone work. And we know how to do it – we have Soviet experience,” he said.
“The first thing we should do is to change our attitude to investors. It is inadmissible for the capital owner to waste time knocking on different doors and seeking ways to invest in Belarus. We should secure the green light to the investor. All the relevant matters should be addressed in a speedy fashion for investors.”
‘Dividing lines’ in the European Union
According to Lukashenka, the world is now witnessing a drift towards the new bloc confrontation.
“Millions of refugees from the Middle East and Africa flooded the European continent. The scale of illegal migration is forcing Europeans to become seriously concerned about their identity. EU countries were not ready for such a massive flow. They try, with mixed success, to devise measures to streamline the system. Illegal migration entails crime, terrorism,” he noted.
In his opinion, there is a possibility of new dividing lines emerging within and around the European Union.
Belarus is ready, at any moment, to host dialogue similar to the Helsinki Process, Lukashenka says. “The events taking place in the world and on the continent demonstrate, again and again, the relevance of the Belarusian initiative to start a new large-scale dialogue between the East and the West similar to the Helsinki process. I confirm: Minsk is ready, at any moment, to become the venue of dialogue aimed at understanding the new rules the world order.”
New Silk Road project
Lukashenka wants Belarus to become one of the hubs of a new Silk Road project in Eurasia and be part of ‘new global cooperation projects’ such as the Silk Road Economic Belt. “Belarus cannot stay aside from these processes. We should become one of the hubs of the Silk Road in the Eurasian region. We must make the maximum use of the incentives that China offers while promoting this initiative.”
EAEU members ‘have issues’
The sides have not yet managed to establish systematic work in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Lukashenka believes.
“We have been pinning hopes on the Eurasian Economic Union. We have reached many agreements to facilitate the movement of goods, capital, and labor, create equal economic conditions. All we had to do is to establish systematic work and move along the chosen path. We have not done this yet <…> it has turned out that it is a much more challenging task to work consistently to establish equal relations of mutual trust based on the agreements signed by the member states,. We are constantly trying to settle our disputes. We criticize one another for dumping policies. We also have issues with distributing our common credit resources. We should understand one thing: the market of the Eurasian Economic Union is not a market of some country and the allies that have joined it. It is our common fully-fledged market, and by developing it we will manage to cope with any sanctions and successfully tackle our economic differences.”
‘Symmetrical’ response to EU restrictions
The president urged the Belarusian government to take specific actions in response to the restriction of access to the EU market. “Belarus is kept out of the EU market. Why then do not we respond? Why do not we protect ourselves? Why do not we give a symmetrical and accurate answer and show what Belarus is worth? I expect the government to take specific actions in this field.”
Belsat.eu, following BelTA