Belarus FM: Russian proposals for integration go too far

The foreign minister of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, has said that the Russian government’s proposals on political and economic integration between the two countries included some which are “absolutely unacceptable”, Belsat TV has reported citing Mr Makei’s interview with Russian business daily RBK Novosti.

Mr Makei said that the two governments came to an agreement on a future roadmap for integration within the so-called Union State Treaty but added that the current plans did not envisage either in-depth integration or a currency union.

At the same time, the two sides agreed to create a single tax code for the two economies.

“There are no and won’t be any political issues about the creation of a federation or confederation. I repeat once again that sovereignty for both states is sacred and Belarus does not intend to sacrifice it for the sake of some market reasons,” the Belarusian FM stressed, pointing to what he called “absolutely unacceptable” offers from the Russian government to create supranational institutions.

The Belarusian and Russian governments have now been in talks for months about bilateral integration within the Union Treaty of 1999 that envisaged a confederation of the two countries. Observers say that the Kremlin is pushing for in-depth integration in order to keep the Russian president Vladimir Putin in office once his last, constitutionally allowed term in office expires in 2024. The creation of a Belarus-Russia federation would allow Mr Putin to become president of the new entity and stay in office.

On September 16, leaked documents revealing the integration action plan, which has yet to be officially published, suggested partial economic integration in the spheres of banking, taxation, energy, labour market and welfare.