By Vladimir Khromov
The prime ministers of Belarus and Russia, Mikhail Myasnikovich and Dmitry Medvedev, first held an hour long personal meeting at Government House’s Chimney Hall. They then continued their dialogue on the Union State and Belarusian-Russian bilateral relations in an expanded format, joined by their ministers in charge of economic and financial issues, industry and transport.
“We have various forms of integration. The Union State’s value lies in its experience, positive and negative, as this will prove useful for the future creation of the single Eurasian Economic Space,” noted Mr. Medvedev. “Trade-economic co-operation is developing, with trade turnover over the first nine months of this year rising by 15 percent; by the end of the year, we plan to achieve a figure of around $40m.” He added that it’s important to strengthen these positive dynamics and demonstrate the advantages of Union State integration via concrete projects. He believes that it’s possible to take five definite economic projects involving Belarusian and Russian companies and implement them.
Mr. Myasnikovich spoke of current obstacles to Union State construction, saying, “We need to eliminate the barriers which are preventing the participation of Belarusian manufacturers in state tenders within the Russian Federation, alongside other restrictions regarding the recognition of certificates, licenses and approval documents for medications, and construction and transport services. Decisive steps must be taken to avoid our companies being viewed as outsiders. If necessary, let’s sign bilateral agreements to solve these problems.” Mr. Medvedev supports Mr. Myasnikovich’s proposals to reduce ‘red tape’ regarding accreditation and certification.
The agenda comprised 36 issues, with most of the Union State draft budget for 2013 approved: the major issue of the meeting. A report was delivered on the fulfilment of the Union State budget in 2012 and a plan of action for 2013-2015 was approved for the further development of small and medium-sized entrepreneurial activities within the Union State. Other debate covered the Treaty Establishing the Union State for 2012-2013, as well as collaboration between Belarus and Russia in counteracting illegal migration, and a draft joint action plan on the regional group of forces of Belarus and Russia for 2013. Additionally, a plan on battling terrorism within the Union State in 2013 was discussed.
Various issues relating to the implementation of Union State programmes came under debate, relating to healthcare and the agreed ecological policy (part of the social development plan until 2015).
Afterwards, the Prime Minister of Belarus emphasised that a serious contribution had been made for the future.