Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attends a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State
15 march 2011
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Vladimir Putin: Mr Myasnikovich, ladies and gentlemen.
We are meeting shortly before a symbolic day for both our countries: the Day of Unity of the Belarusian and Russian Peoples, which we celebrate on April 2. We are brought together not only by a shared history, shared traditions, and a cultural affinity but also by ambitious integration processes and plans that we are currently implementing.
Today, we are holding the year's first meeting of the Council of Ministers of the Union State. The prime ministers of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan will also meet today to discuss the formation of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. These facts demonstrate once again that Russian-Belarusian integration is expanding in both the framework of the Union State and the Common Economic Space.
The signing of a number of agreements will be the practical result of our common efforts. These agreements concern guarantees on the steady performance of our power grids and cooperation in space exploration, social welfare, and nuclear power. I would like to note that at present we possess a cutting-edge technological arsenal for the steady and foolproof performance of nuclear plants. This technology will be used to the utmost – as it should be.
At the same time, it is our duty not to forget the Belarusian and Russian population residing in areas contaminated by the Chernobyl tragedy of 25 years ago. We will certainly promote the resolutions we have drafted on annual allocations for the treatment of children from such areas.
The agenda of today's meeting is highly topical as always, with more than 20 items. We will, first of all, discuss economic problems, summarise last year's bilateral trade, and arrange priorities for the future.
I would like to note that bilateral trade increased by almost 20% last year, and if we remain as active as we have, it will exceed the pre-crisis level very soon. Therein, it is important to take into account the goals we are setting as we construct the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space.
These new conditions demand that the legal basis of our relations be updated. So, during this meeting, we will discuss an analysis of the international economic treaties concluded by our countries back in 1992.
We will also approve the forecasts of demand and supply for staple goods manufactured in the Union State and figures for this year's fuel and energy supplies. We are presently implementing about 40 interstate programmes and projects in many fields. Today, we must make decisions on those that promote integration in innovative fields, as well as cooperation in high technology. We must also discuss the goals of military-technical cooperation with an emphasis on this year's plan to conduct joint counter-terrorist measures in the Union State. Our priorities also include the formation of a common information space. Today, we will not only summarise our last three-year programme, which will soon draw to a close, but also discuss a new draft plan to be implemented through 2013.
I would also like to mention certain memorable dates: the 20th anniversary of the Commonwealth of Independent States, which we celebrated last December, and a landmark event for both our countries – the bicentenary of the Napoleonic War of 1812, which is due next year. We must start preparations for the celebration of that historic date well beforehand and make this celebration interesting and rich in content. Particularly, there have been proposals to restore the monument to heroes of the War of 1812 in the village of Krasny, in the Smolensk Region. I think that the Union government should contribute to such a project.
Thank you. Mr Myasnikovich has the floor.
Mikhail Myasnikovich: Thank you very much, Mr Putin. Ladies and gentlemen.
For our nation, the Union State with Russia is the basis of a lasting strategic partnership. It was so in the past and, I am sure, it will be so in the future. We have every reason to think so, and, to that end, we have now elaborated a regulatory environment. We think that its implementation should be top priority for the Union government. As we see it, the Union State, the Customs Union, and the Common Economic Space are not competitors but major, mutually complementary transnational projects for integration. Their implementation can be a mighty impetus to the growth and prosperity of our countries. Belarus and Russia have the same goals for development: they must establish an innovative, high-tech, knowledge-based economy. There are practical projects for space exploration and nuclear technology. Belarus and Russia will construct a nuclear plant that will be efficient and, more importantly, safe. It is an especially sensitive matter to us Belarusians for understandable reasons.
April 26 will be the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. As we are reminded by the current situation in Japan, it taught us a lesson about the construction of nuclear plants. Reliability and safety should be the future of the Belarusian nuclear industry. These are our top priorities.
Our economic institutions are rapidly converging. The Council of Ministers anticipates seeing this convergence in the programmes of the Belarusian government. The president and the government are willing to do their utmost to promote effective inclusion of Russian capital in the implementation of ambitious, innovative projects in Belarus. Mr Putin, I would like to cite what you said at one of the meetings of the Council of Ministers: such projects can become vehicles for the entire economy. These new projects will certainly give an impetus to our mutual participation in the Union State.
Mr Putin, before we begin the work on the agenda, allow me to introduce to you and to all the members of the Union government two deputy state secretaries, members of the Permanent Committee nominated to the Belarusian quota. These are Ivan Bambiza, until recently the Belarusian deputy prime minister, and Anna Deiko, who was minister of taxation merely a few days ago. As the state secretary has informed me, the resolution on their appointment is currently under your consideration. Please support their nomination. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much, Mr Myasnikovich. Now let's get down to business.
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The following documents were signed in the presence of the Russian and Belarusian prime ministers:
- The Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Belarus on Cooperation for the Construction of a Nuclear Power Plant in Belarus;
- The Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Belarus on Certain Measures to Guarantee the Parallel Work of the United Power Grid of the Russian Federation and the United Power Grid of the Republic of Belarus;
- The Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Republic of Belarus on Cooperation in Space Exploration and Civil Use;
- The Agreement between the Ministry of Healthcare and Social Development of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Belarus, the Ministry of Healthcare of the Republic of Belarus, and the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Belarus on the Application of the Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus on Cooperation in Social Welfare of January 24, 2006.