Kommersant: impending confederation of Belarus and Russia?
Yesterday the Russian publication Kommersant reported on a tentative economic integration programme of Belarus and Russia, providing for the effective creation of a confederate state.
Prime Ministers Sergey Rumas and Dmitry Medvedev first met to draft the programme in early September.
The bill has not been presented to the public. The presidents of the two countries Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin plan to sign the bill on December 8.
Kommersant reports that the economic integration programme is planned to begin in a year and a half. It provides for the partial integration of the Russian and Belarusian economies beginning January 2021.
“The partial economic integration is on a level no less than in the European Union, and is similar to confederate and even federal states on a number of issues,” Kommersant writes.
A union state tax code is expected to be adopted by April 1, 2021.
Customs and energy policies are also expected to be combined by 2021. The document stipulates the creation of a “single regulator” of gas, oil products and electricity markets.
A single currency is not discussed in the document. However, it stipulates that it is necessary to agree on the harmonisation of macroeconomic policies, the unification of currency control, the unification of payment systems and a single investment protection regime.
By November 1, 2019, the Belarusian and Russian ministries of economy should create a “road map” for combining industry regulation. The document also plans to create mutual unified access to public procurements, a unified system of accounting for property and unified economic legislation by 2021.
“We note that at least until 2022 there are no grounds to talk about the unification of the two countries based on the programme – the programme only touches on economic integration between the two states”, Kommersant writes.