Meeting of the Union State Council of Ministers



Dmitry Medvedev: Good afternoon, colleagues! Let’s start our work within the framework of the Council of Ministers of the Union State. Mr Myasnikovich, do you want to say anything to start? Please, go ahead.

Mikhail Myasnikovich: Thank you. Mr Medvedev, members of the Union State Council of Ministers, ladies and gentlemen! The Belarusian delegation would like to sincerely wish you, Mr Medvedev, and all Russian colleagues, a happy Constitution Day!

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you very much!

Mikhail Myasnikovich: I think it's a good sign that we are resolving such important issues on such an important holiday.

I would like to note that our countries have conducted a great amount of work on the harmonisation and unification of our national laws. However there are very many issues that demand a solution. Today the Union State Council of Ministers will discuss almost forty issues that will largely help to resolve the current problems. In reality, there is a provision for equal rights for our citizens and equal conditions for economic entities in Russia and Belarus. 

We in Belarus think it's good that the Union State Council of Ministers does not shy away from resolving new tasks that are surfacing in our integration relations. The Supreme State Council and the Council of Ministers of the Union State have provided for a legal framework; in addition, we are implementing a lot of joint projects, real economic projects, and these projects have good prospects for the future.

Sometimes the question emerges among public officials and the general public, “Has the creation of the Union State become less urgent because of the creation of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia?” In Belarus, we believe that each integration association has its own goals. Both the Permanent Committee and the Eurasian Economic Commission have enough intellectual force not only to coordinate work but also to help each other with a synergistic effect. I am focusing on this because we see that the economic entities and the state bodies and local governments still have many issues that demand solid consideration. And in the short term, we in Belarus under the leadership of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, will hold a workshop for top officials on improving the performance of republican and local authorities under the conditions of the Common Economic Space.

Mr Medvedev, in principle, we have discussed many issues in private and at the meeting with the ministers. Indeed, most issues are successfully resolved by the Russian Government and by the Council of Ministers of the Union State, but there are problems that demand a solution as soon as possible. Perhaps I’m repeating this point, but above all, this has to do with issues of the common industrial policy. I think that in the near-term, this subject, as well as issues of military-technical and science and technology cooperation will be a point of discussion in the Eurasian Economic Commission and in the Council. Mr Medvedev, there are still very many bans and restrictions, and I think it would be right to lift these barriers and ensure free access to orders and special purchases, and tenders, in order for companies to be able to participate on an equal footing, including in research and educational centres. I have cited examples which show how sometimes the authorities destroy cooperation ties that have been in place for many years

The second theme. We have yet not completely abolished the various restrictions on the mutual recognition of certificates, licenses and other permits. We realise that each side carries out a certain protectionist policy in relation to the domestic commodity producer, but when there are  restrictions for the access of medicines and construction materials to the domestic market, I think we should take decisive steps; otherwise our companies will be downgraded to the positions of companies of third countries. I do not think that this principle is aimed at providing jobs for public officials or creating additional bureaucratic barriers. If necessary, let’s go ahead and sign direct bilateral agreements.

The third group of issues has been plaguing us for a while, yet they are still on the agenda. I’m referring to infrastructure and logistics. Restrictions on Belarusian motor carriers are still in place. We are not provided the same conditions compared to those that have Russian carriers. And Russia at times provides more favourable treatment to carriers from third countries.

The Union State has everything needed to successfully overcome such challenges. I would wrong not to mention that your initiatives, Mr Medvedev, have led to the establishment of such innovative institutional entities within the Union as the High-Level Group led by Mr Shuvalov (Igor Shuvalov, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister) and Mr Rumas (Sergei Rumas, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister), the Industrial Cooperation Group led by Mr Dvorkovich (Arkady Dvorkovich, Russian Deputy Prime Minister) and Mr Semashko (Vladimir Semashko, Belarusian First Deputy Prime Minister), the Science and Innovation Relations Group led by Mr Fedyukin (Igor Fedyukin, Russian Deputy Minister of Education and Science), and Mr Kilin (Sergei Kilin, Chief Scientific Secretary of the Belarusian National Academy of Sciences). Together with the Permanent Committee of the Union State, these groups can greatly improve our performance.

As for today’s agenda, all of the items have been agreed upon except for a number of minor issues that I’m sure we can resolve out of session. I’m sure that there are no unsolvable issues. We will be able to do everything that we need to do quickly.

I would like to stress again that the good, friendly and, most importantly, stable relations with Russia, as well as the high level of trust between our leaders, are achievements of the utmost importance. Please allow me to thank you in person, Mr Medvedev, for your constructive partnership.

Thank you.

Dmitry Medvedev: Thank you, Mr Myasnikovich. Well, allow me to add a few words to what you said before we get to work. This is the second meeting of the Union State’s Council of Ministers this year. The first meeting took place in Minsk, and we have accomplished a great deal since that time.

We have a busy agenda today – 36 items on various issues concerning the Union State. I would like to add a few words to what my colleague has said. Indeed, there are different integration associations, even though there is the Customs Union, which will grow into a Common Economic Space, and the Eurasian Economic Union.

The Union State is not going anywhere because we are using various integration forms. This is exactly what makes the Union State strong. Thus, we will continue working as we have worked before – communicating with our colleagues and ministers and holding Council of Ministers meetings. The experiences – both positive and negative – that we have gained while working in the Union will be useful in creating Common Economic Space mechanisms. It’s always helpful to have previous experiences to rely on. We have had our fair share of difficulties. It’s important that we have not forgotten them, and we will try to avoid them while creating the Eurasian Economic Union and promoting our Union State.

Our economic and trade cooperation is on the rise.  As I have already mentioned, trade increased by almost 15% over the first nine months of 2012. I believe that trade will reach about $40 billion by late 2012. It is important to keep this positive trend going, and to make wider use of the opportunities that have emerged in connection with the creation of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. We have decided during the ministerial meeting that we should implement several projects that will be indicative of the success of our integration efforts. Let's select five, announce them officially, and agree that our  will to carry them out with the participation of Russian and Belarusian companies, with privatisation, is irreversible  and we will not change or revise our decision to see these projects to completion. If we do this, then we will be in the position to show the results of our economic cooperation within the Union State. Let’s draft a short-list now and began working on it...

You mentioned the difficulties faced by our entrepreneurs too. I agree with you, especially with regard to certification and licensing. Our task is to make things more comfortable for entrepreneurs. There are rules for market access, but we now have a common market and we need to make these rules less complicated. Of course, these tasks vary by area of work. However, it is entirely within our power to simplify certification, licensing and market access rules using self-regulatory organisations under intergovernmental agreements. Military and technological cooperation unquestionably requires a slightly different approach... Each party understandably strives to give the green light to its own companies. However, I agree that we should think about the future – especially as our countries are not only part of the Union State, but also members of the CSTO. This means that we have common defence goals. In this regard, cooperation between our military production companies makes perfect sense...

Most importantly, we must create good living conditions for Union State citizens and promote entrepreneurship. We have important documents – albeit somewhat general in nature – such as the Concept of Social Development and several others, which we will continue to implement over the course of our joint activities.

Our agenda today includes several significant items, such as combating illegal migration. We will also discuss preparations for intergovernmental agreements in this sphere, including the creation of a common migration space, which will include the member states. You know about all of other items. You have them on your desks. Let's get to work.


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Thirty-six documents have been signed following the meeting of the Union State Council of Ministers.

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