Vladimir Putin and Alyaksandr Lukashenka met on Thursday in Moscow. The presidents agreed on programs for the economic integration of Russia and Belarus, the so-called integration roadmaps. They informed at a press conference about the results of the meeting in Moscow, where 28 such “road maps” were discussed.
Putin explained that the goal of the Russian-Belarusian programs is “to unify legislation, level the conditions for the activities of economic entities in two countries, and build a single financial and energy market”. It is also about creating a “single transport space” and about “shaping and implementing a common policy in industry and agriculture”.
Putin announced that the programs will be approved on Friday and submitted for consideration to the Supreme State Council of the Union State of Belarus and Russia. Earlier it was reported that representatives of the governments of both countries will meet in Minsk on Friday. The meeting of the board should be held by the end of the year.
The Russian president also announced that the two countries agreed on the main directions of building a common credit policy in the future, integrating their payment systems and “creating a common payment space”.
Putin: from 2023 there will be a single gas market for Russia and Belarus
A document on creating a single gas market will be signed by January 1, 2023, Putin announced. He pointed out that it was also possible to create single markets for oil, oil products and electricity.
Putin explained that the gas price for Belarus in 2022 will remain at this year’s level. Minsk is currently paying USD 128.5 for 1 thousand. cubic meters gas. The Russian president noted that the price on the European market is $ 650. He also assured that Belarus and Russians would have “equal rights and opportunities in the economic and social spheres”. He did not rule out the possibility of establishing a joint union parliament of Russia and Belarus in the future, but stipulated that “the economy must first of all be dealt with”. After that, “everything will naturally require additional regulations, including – perhaps – at the level of the union parliament,” Putin said. He argued that an economic foundation should be built in order to go further, including in the political direction.
Lukashenka: For now, we have postponed talks on the single currency
Lukashenka informed that both countries will not introduce the single currency for now. The issue was put on the advice of their central banks. “But that doesn’t mean we won’t return to it,” he reserved. He stated that there is nothing wrong with the integration programs of Belarus and Russia for the citizens of both countries, contrary to criticism from – as he put it – “the so-called oppositionists”. Roadmaps have never been published. Lukashenka promised on Thursday that it would be soon. Talks on integration within the federal state have gathered pace, under pressure from Russia, since 2017, but have been going on intermittently. It was caused by disputes concerning, inter alia, the oil and gas sphere. On August 9 this year, Lukashenka said that both countries “at a given stage” had given up the “roadmap” for political integration.
Main photo source: EPA / MIKHAIL VOSKRESENSKIY