An important step in the creation of the Union State

Date of publication: 8 November 2021
28 Union programs were signed at the meeting of the Supreme State Council

On November 4, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko signed an integration decree “On the main directions of implementation of the provisions of the Treaty on the Creation of the Union State for 2021-2023.” Thus, the leaders of the two countries approved 28 union programs – documents defining the further integration of Moscow and Minsk. At the meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union State, which was held via videoconference, the leaders also signed an updated military doctrine and migration concept.

It should be noted that the union programs, which have been working on for more than three years, were finally agreed at the beginning of September this year. In particular, on September 9, following a meeting in Moscow, the Presidents of Russia and Belarus approved these programs, and the next day, on September 10, the union programs were approved at a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State, which was held in Belarus.

It should be emphasized that the 28 documents of the Union programs are primarily devoted to the economic integration of the two countries and imply the creation of common markets for gas, oil and petroleum products, as well as electricity. They should contribute to the formation of a unified agrarian and industrial policy, the development of common rules in a variety of areas – from access to public procurement to the social sphere. According to the estimates of the Belarusian side, only the direct effect of the implementation of the integration package for Belarus is projected to increase the country’s GDP by about $ 1 billion, not counting additional opportunities for Belarusian business in the Russian market.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, in fact, Russia and Belarus are embarking on a “reset of the joint economic space.” In turn, Vladimir Putin called the signing of the decree on integration a serious step forward. “It is absolutely unrelated to the domestic political agendas in our countries. It is connected with the need for our economies to function effectively and create competitive advantages in order to increase the efficiency of our work, which is ultimately aimed at improving the welfare of our citizens,” the Russian leader stressed.

As stated by the head of the Russian government Mikhail Mishustin, now Moscow and Minsk will have to implement the agreements reached. According to him, for this it is necessary to adopt more than 400 acts and bilateral agreements. “In fact, a new regulation will be created, now on a common integration basis. This is a large-scale task and, of course, a great responsibility,” Mishustin added.

Indeed, the parties have a lot of work to do, since the Union State programs involve the integration of currency systems, general principles for collecting indirect taxes, common approaches on pension and social security issues, the fight against terrorism, mutual access to public procurement and government orders. In addition, macroeconomic policy will become common, countries will integrate payment systems and harmonize monetary policy, form joint oil and gas markets, etc.

In addition, Russia and Belarus will create a new body – the Committee of the Union State on tax issues, which will be of an advisory nature. It is also planned that equal tariffs for airport and air navigation services will be established for Russian and Belarusian aircraft, telephone roaming between the countries will be canceled, and an agreement on uniform rules in the field of consumer protection will be concluded by the end of the year.

As noted above, the leaders of Russia and Belarus have adopted the Military Doctrine of the Union State and the Concept of Migration Policy of the two countries. These documents are included in the main directions of implementation of the provisions of the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State for 2021-2023. As the State Secretary of the Union State Dmitry Mezentsev said earlier, the new military doctrine will incre ase the level of coherence of defense policy and adapt the tasks of the defense ministries of the two countries in a timely manner. In turn, the concept of migration policy will determine the activities of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, security agencies, border services, foreign policy agencies in the field of migration, taking into account the increase in migration flows, Mezentsev said.

Moreover, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said that Moscow and Minsk need to reform the Union media, create a single media holding of the Union State, and not “put money on different plates”, which significantly reduces the effectiveness of the media. “I think we need to carry out a serious reform here. We could create a media holding of the Union State. And that money, even if small, should not be smeared on existing newspapers, magazines, Telegram channels and other YouTube channels, but, having gathered them into a fist, for the same money to create an appropriate group, a media holding, and talk about what is happening,” Lukashenko said at a meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union State.

Recall that Russia and Belarus signed an agreement on the creation of a Union State on December 8, 1999. By the 20th anniversary of the document, a working group was created to develop industry roadmaps. Then Moscow and Minsk reformatted them into union integration programs. Most of them are designed until 2025, some until 2027. At the same time, both capitals have repeatedly stressed that there are no political issues related to the loss of sovereignty in the union programs.

It is no secret that the process of integration of Russia and Belarus has not always gone smoothly and sometimes stalled. And in this process, an important, one might say, decisive step has been taken, since the 28 programs signed by the presidents of the two countries should seriously change the situation regarding integration within the framework of the Union State. It is noteworthy that the meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union State was held on November 4 – the Day of National Unity. This is very symbolic and once again proves the closeness of the two Slavic peoples – Russian and Belarusian.

In conclusion, it should be noted that after signing all the documents, President Putin said that Russia and Belarus “intend to jointly resist any attempts to interfere in internal affairs” and assured that Moscow would continue to “assist the fraternal Belarusian people,” and President Lukashenko – that the Union State for Minsk is “a priority of priorities”.



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