Putin, Lukashenko agree on single parliament, govt – envoy
Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenko and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin approved the plans to establish a common government and parliament, Belarusian Ambassador to Russia Uladzimir Syamashka said in an interview with TUT.BY.
"The presidents admitted that the objectives set [in the 1999 Union Treaty] are ambitious and they should not need to be changed. These are the following: a shift to unified tax legislation, the creation of common oil, gas and electricity markets, establishing a single parliament and government with certain powers, when independent Russia and Belarus delegate certain functions which shall be performed to the upper instance. Such challenge is now being dealt with," Syamashka said, according to Belsat.eu.
According to the diplomat, 20 of 31 road maps for deeper integration have been endorsed.
Earlier, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov announced the two leaders' meeting which is to take place by the end of 2019.
On September 16, the Russian newspaper Kommersant presented some details of the project of the further integration of Belarus and Russia, which was reportedly agreed by the prime ministers of the two states on September, 6. The integration may be ‘deeper’ than that in the European Union, the article reads. If the information is anything to go by, the document provides for the partial economic integration at the same level as the EU member states have; in some fields, the integration will be similar to that of a confederation or even federation.
On the same day, president Lukashenko's press secretary Natallya Eysmant told the Belarusian newspaper Nasha Niva that the terms "confederation" and "federation" used in the article were nothing but "journalistic cliches". The independence and sovereignty of Belarus and Russia are "sacred", she added.
In late September, Anatol Hlaz, Spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said that the deepening of the integration of Belarus and Russia would not go beyond the limits of the Union Treaty of 1999. However, it should be noted that this document, among other things, suggests a single currency, a single parliament, a Council of Ministers, a court and symbols. In addition, the union of the two countries should have a single monetary, currency, tax and price policy, common rules of competition and consumer protection, joint transport and energy systems, a single trade and customs tariff policy, single legislation on foreign investment and other functions.
By December 8, 2019, the authorities of Belarus and Russia are expected to sign a new agreement on deepening integration. In late October, Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhei Rumas said that the Belarus-Russia integration program would soon be prepared and handed over to the leaders of the two countries. However, the Belarusian authorities are not going to make public the program signed by the two prime ministers in early September in order to prevent "manipulations".
The December signing will come ahead of a Normandy Four summit, set to be held in Paris December 9, where leaders of Ukraine, Russia, France, and Germany will talk settlement in Donbas.