Rumas: Further integration depends on resolution of economic issues

Further integration within the Union State of Belarus and Russia depends on the resolution of economic issues, Belarusian Prime Minister Siarhiej Rumas said Tuesday while speaking at a session of the Council of Ministers of the Union State at the Gorki government residence near Moscow.

According to Mr. Rumas, the session showed that there was “no fog” in relations between Belarus and Russia.

He mentioned an action program to implement the 1999 Union State Treaty and a list of 31 roadmaps for the program that he and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, “initialed” on September 6.

“Not everything was going well with regard to a number of provisions of these roadmaps,” Mr. Rumas said. “The sides were expressing diametrically opposite integration ideas. There are still unresolved issues regarding a number of roadmaps.”

Mr. Rumas pointed out that the Belarusian government maintained a “clear and consistent” position in its talks with Russia.

“Further integration depends on the resolution of the most acute economic issues such as oil and gas prices, barriers to goods’ access to domestic markets and terms of support for manufacturers, including subsidies,” Mr. Rumas stressed.  

Not all these issues have yet been resolved, he noted.

“At the same time economic conditions in 2020 are becoming of particular importance for the Republic of Belarus since the consequences of the Russian Federation’s tax maneuver [in the oil sector] have an increasing negative effect for Belarus,” Mr. Rumas said.

He emphasized the importance of resolving the remaining issues before a session of the Supreme State Council of the Union State, “where we expect a new stage of the Union State to begin.”