All the roadmaps for further integration of Russia and Belarus are to be agreed by the end of April, rg.ru reports with reference to Belarusian Ambassador to Russia Uladzimir Syamashka.
According to him, the two countries have still not come to an agreement on the integration roadmaps for tax legislation; customs issues; gas; common industrial policy; agricultural policy; single oil and oil products market.
“To date, 21 maps are ready to be signed out of 30, or, to be more exact, of 28, because three maps – the one regarding the unification of tax legislation and two maps regarding customs regulations – have merged into one, There are only seven maps left, I hope they will have been agreed by the end of April. Then it will be possible to get the roadmaps and the implementation program signed in the first half of this year,” Uladzimir Syamashka said.
The availability of the completed roadmaps provides for the signing of an intergovernmental agreement on deepening integration by January 2022, the ambassador noted.
In 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the election campaign in Belarus, the integration issue seemed to have been put off the agenda. However, during February’s meeting in Sochi, Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin touched on, among others, the question of roadmaps. They were not signed in 2019 because the sides could not find consensus on oil, gas, tax policy and common currency. There were six or seven maps left to be finalised, Lukashenka said. A bit earlier, he expressed readiness to deepen Belarus-Russia integration at the Belarusian People’s Congress, naming Russia ‘the major strategic ally’.
Negotiations on deeper integration of Belarus and Russia began in late 2018. In September 2019, the then Prime Ministers of the two countries Syarhei Rumas and Dmitry Medvedev agreed on a draft action program to deepen integration and a list of road maps. From September till December the governments took time to agree on concrete road maps to transfer them for signing to heads of the states. It was expected that the meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union State would be held on December 8, where Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin would sign the new integration program, which includes 31 road maps. However, the signing of integration documents has never taken place.
The full list of all road maps has never been published, as well as details of the integration documents. In 2019, the Belarusian authorities stressed in every possible way that the integration talks do not concern the creation of supranational bodies and political integration. Only in December, after the disruption of the Supreme State Council of the Union State in Moscow, Lukashenka told about the 31st map. “There is the so-called 31st road map — a plan to build supranational bodies. Parliament, perhaps there will be a President, etc.” said Lukashenka in an interview with Echo of Moscow.