The US and some EU countries have been trying very hard to overthrow Lukashenko. The result of such efforts is a strengthening of relations between Russia and Belarus, eventually leading to a merger of both countries. In other words, and as usual, the result of the West's policies is the exact opposite of what they wished to achieve. Will Europe finally realize that it must free itself from the US and its stupid policies?https://thesaker.is/news-conference-fol ... ion-state/
Mr Lukashenko, ladies and gentlemen,
We will briefly inform you about the results of our today’s work.
Our talks with the President of Belarus were intensive and constructive, as they have always been, which is fully in line with the nature of relations between our countries.
I have said this before but would like to repeat it today: Belarus, for us, is a good neighbour and our closest ally. Russian-Belarusian cooperation rests on the principles of mutual respect, support and consideration for each other’s interests. Close friendly ties between Russia and Belarus are buttressed by a common history and spiritual values and often by family relations.
The Republic is our main trade and economic partner in the CIS and was our third largest partner in the world in 2020, in this respect. This year, trade is once again on the rise and has already surpassed the pre-pandemic level. In January-June it amounted to $17.8 billion, recording growth of 34.9 percent, almost 35 percent.
Russia accounts for almost half of all of Belarus’ foreign trade. Russia has also made the biggest investment in the Belarusian economy.
So, it is no accident that during today’s talks we focused on trade and investment in our bilateral relations and on the issues linked with integration within the Union State framework.
As you know, over several years – we said today that we stepped up this work three or four years ago – our governments have been intensively working on a package of documents to further deepen integration between Russia and Belarus.
These are 28 so-called “union programmes” that are aimed at the unification of laws in Russia and Belarus in various economic areas, the levelling of conditions for the operation of the two countries’ economic entities, the formation of uniform financial and energy markets, transport infrastructure, the development and implementation of a common industrial and agricultural policy.
Today, I would like to say with satisfaction, that all 28 programmes have been agreed upon. Tomorrow, they are to be approved at a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State in Minsk, after which they will be submitted for approval by the Supreme State Council of the Union State, which will convene before the end of this year. Mr Lukashenko and I have agreed on that, and we will now check our schedules and determine a more or less exact timeline.
Let me briefly go over the contents of these programmes.
Some of them seek to harmonise the taxation and customs legislation of our two countries. In particular, an agreement will be signed covering the general principles of levying indirect taxes. An integrated system for administering indirect taxes within the Union State will be put in place. The goal is to make the price structure of products clear.
Also, the general guidelines for forming a single monetary policy in the future, and implementing currency regulation, integrating national payment systems and creating a common payment space within the Union State have been outlined. All this will help ensure fair competition and boost business activity on the financial market, as well as effectively mitigate the risks of money laundering and the financing of criminal activities, including terrorism.
We have reached agreements on matters that are highly sensitive for the Belarusian side, which are related to prices for Russian energy. After lengthy discussions, we managed to come up with mutually acceptable approaches to gas supplies. The price for Russian natural gas for Belarus will remain at the current level in 2022.
A document to create a unified gas market within the Union State will be signed before December 1, 2023. In addition, we will conclude an agreement on merging the petroleum and petroleum product markets, as well as an agreement on a single electricity market.
I would like to emphasise the fact that common approaches to legislation covering labour relations, occupational safety and health, employment, social insurance and pensions, as well as support for families with children, will be developed within the framework of these union programmes as well.
Implementing the Union State programmes will be an important step towards creating a single economic space for our two countries, as provided for in the 1999 Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State.
Eventually, this will provide a strong impetus to the further growth of the two countries’ economies, will facilitate an increase in labour efficiency, serve the interests of large, mid-sized and small businesses and help create more jobs.
Russian and Belarusian businesses will be given the opportunity to expand their activities across the Union State, including by establishing new joint ventures and boosting their export potential.
Most importantly, the average person in the two countries will, hopefully, benefit from the integration. Russians and Belarusians will be given equal rights and equal opportunities in the economic and social spheres and, the most important thing, the necessary conditions will be put in place to ensure a real improvement in living standards and the wellbeing of the people.
Today, we also discussed matters related to building a single defence space and ensuring the security of the Union Sate along its borders.
In this context, we gave much attention, as we attach great importance to this, to upcoming joint military exercises, Zapad 2021, to be held in Russia and Belarus. These exercises are not targeting anyone. However, conducting these exercises is logical, given that other alliances, for example, NATO, are moving fast to build their military presence close to the borders of the Union State and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation countries.
Mr Lukashenko talked about the political situation in the Republic of Belarus, which has stabilised.
In conclusion, returning to the main topic of today’s talks, I want to note that the development of equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation in the Union State has remained an explicit strategic priority for our two countries.
I want to thank the governments, ministries and teams of experts of the two countries who took part in developing and coordinating the Union State programmes. Thanks to you – I am now addressing our colleagues – and your well-coordinated and painstaking work, we have managed to achieve very impressive results on the path to integration. We believe – I am again addressing my colleagues in the government – that you will continue to proceed like this in the future.
Thank you for your attention.
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