‘Swallowing Belarusian economy’: Russian media about new integration plan

The Russian media outlet Kommersant has presented some details of the project of deepening the integration of Belarus and Russia, which was reportedly agreed by the prime ministers of the two states on September, 6.

According to the article, 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. In fact, the question is that Russia’s economy will swallow the economy of Belarus at the level of management, the Kommersant stresses.

In accordance with the plan, the road maps for integrating the two economies are to be presented by 1 November 2019, so that the sides could start their joint work on 1 January 2021. Moreover, with effect from June, 2020 roaming charges are expected to be abolished; a unified tax code may be adopted by 1 April 2021, the authors say.

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If the information provided by the Kommersant is anything to go by, the two countries’ customs and energy policies will be unified as well. In addition, the document allegedly provides for the harmonization of macroeconomic policies, the unification of exchange control and payment systems. Also, starting 2021, the Central Bank of Russia and the National Bank of Belarus will be operating under the terms of the intergovernmental agreement on common principles of banking and financial supervision.

The Russian newspaper claims that the document also includes proposals to harmonize industrial and antimonopoly policies, the regime of the state regulation of agromarkets, trade, transport and communication. A common access to government procurement has been announced, as well as the unified system of registration of ownership and thharmonization of economic legislation. From January, 2022 on, Belarus and Russia may introduce a coordinated policy towards the labour market and social protection, the Russian journalists report with reference to their own sources.

However, there is no information that the integration of defense, state security and public administration sectors, the systems of judiciary, education and health are mentioned in the document.

Earlier, Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhei Rumas said that the project of integration of Belarus and Russia contained no political elements. According to him, the program includes the principle of ‘two countries — one market’, while there are no political issues. According to this action plan, government agencies should develop 28 road maps in different sectors of the economy.

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