Legal assessment inspires dialogue

Parliamentarians expect new Government to promptly solve many problems

By Yevgeny Nikonov

Deputies have adopted the final plan for the Government’s work for the next five years, at the last sitting of the House of Representatives’ special seventh session. Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich noted that all the proposals by the deputies — 60 in total — have been taken into account. “We plan to seriously change our methods of work to achieve our targets, inspiring initiatives and entrepreneurial spirit. We need decisive structural reform. Of course, excessive centralisation is a blessing for many, since it takes away the need to think and co-ordinate the work of related bodies. They’ve got used to fulfilling the orders of others; this results in a lot of paperwork and the need to meet by-laws; we should move away from the latter,” he said.

Mr. Myasnikovich is giving special attention to privatisation. Speaking to his opponents, he noted, “An efficient owner is vital; no other approach will be applied.” The Prime Minister assured those present that the decision on which strategic companies to privatise is in the hands of the President alone. As regards other facilities, Mr. Myasnikovich believes there are no grounds for fear. After privatisation, companies don’t disappear; they continue employing citizens, while taxes are paid to the Belarusian budget. “Money generated from privatisation should not be spent on current expenses but will go towards modernisation of old facilities and construction of new plants,” he explained, adding, “We need to understand that, without economic restructuring, our negative balance will reach at least $4.5bn by 2015 — under favourable conditions.”

Parliamentarians have asked the Constitutional Court to decide how the Polish law ‘On Pole’s Card’ meets ‘generally acknowledged principles and norms of international law’. The document came into force in March 2008, covering all post-Soviet states but is primarily aimed at citizens of Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine. Igor Karpenko, the Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Standing Committee for International Affairs and Links with the CIS, says that, in the two years’ time, the ‘Pole’s Card’ has been issued to 14,509 Belarusians. He believes that ‘this document is of a discriminatory character, dividing ethnic Poles in our country between those eligible for a ‘Pole’s Card’ and those who are not’. It is issued by consular establishments, although he asserts that they have no right to issue any documents to local citizens except visas. Moreover, lists of Belarusians with such cards are sent to Poland’s Department of Home Affairs, as well as to security and border agencies. The deputies hope that the Constitutional Court’s legal assessment will provide a good argument for further dialogue with Polish authorities regarding the document’s issuing.

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