Looming integration: Russia, Belarus PMs set new date


Belarus and Russia should agree all the integration roadmaps by November, Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhei Rumas said after Friday’s meeting with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

“The updated action program [on developing the Union State of Belarus and Russia] will primarily stipulate roadmaps per branches of the economy. We should reconcile absolutely all the roadmaps by November,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes him.

It is the presidents of Belarus and Russia who are to resolve the most complicated items on the integration agenda, Medvedev, who arrived in Belarus to attend the European Games grand opening ceremony, stressed when talking to Alyaksandr Lukashenka on the same day.

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At the end of 2018, the Belarusian-Russian relations significantly deteriorated. In late December. there were some meetings of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader pressed for ‘further integration’ while his Belarusian counterpart insisted on reducing gas prices and getting compensation for the tax maneuver.

On December 25, Lukashenka and Putin agreed to establish a working group on the integration within the Union State. Later, the leaders of Belarus and Russia repeatedly got back to the subject.

On May 29, during the meeting in Nur-Sultan, Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka discussed the prospects of the ntegration process. According to Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, the leaders instructed the governments to develop integration measures by the end of June.

On June 4, Belarus’ Prime Minister Syarhei Rumas and State Secretary of the Union State Grigory Rapota met in Minsk to discuss an action plan on integration. The document needs to be prepared by 21 June. However, the details of the negotiations remain under wraps. For example, the government refused to disclose any information to opposition MPs Alena Anisim and Hanna Kanapatskaya. Oddly, Belarusian prime Minister Uladzimir Makey remained tight-lipped about the talks saying that it would be ‘premature’.

Meanwhile, opposition activists who believe that our country does not need the Union State, have launched the public campaign ‘Belarus Go!’ They are collecting signatures for our country’s withdrawal from the alliance.

Last week, Vladimir Putin said during his annual Q&A session that the unification of Russia and Belarus into one state was not on the agenda.

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