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1 Jul 2020

Belarus’ ambassador unveils details of Russia's integration offers

Belarus’ ambassador unveils details of Russia's integration offers
Vladimir Semashko. An archive photo

MOSCOW, 1 July (BelTA) – Belarus’ Ambassador to Russia Vladimir Semashko unveiled some details regarding Russia’s integration offers as he took part in an online press briefing in the run-up to Belarus’ Independence Day. According to the diplomat, in 2019 Russia suggested, among other things, that Belarus transfer 95% of its powers to the supranational level, BelTA reports.

When asked whether deeper integration is possible without compromising the sovereignty, Vladimir Semashko noted that the transfer of powers to the supranational level should be ‘reasonable and not at the expense of sovereignty’. “I recall 13 February 2019 when we got the first proposal in Sochi (I will not name the names from the Russian side). When we studied it and forwarded to the president, I told him that it meant sheer capitulation. I do not have another definition for that: they suggested transferring everything to the higher level leaving us with very little decision-making, like the name of the police. It should not be like that,” the ambassador said.

Vladimir Semashko cited the European Union as a case in point. “After analyzing national and supranational functions I have come to the conclusion that only 18% of functions there were transferred to the supranational level; the national governments retained all the other functions. The document we received on 13 February 2019 provided that 95% of functions should be supranational,” he noted.

Speaking about the common currency in the Union State, the Ambassador stressed that, regardless of the size of the economies, there should be equality in terms of emission powers. “If any decision on emission or devaluation is made, it should be made by consensus,” he is convinced. “The interests of neither side should be infringed,” Vladimir Semashko added. As for the tax and customs laws, they cannot be identical due to the differences in the economy. They can only be approximated, the diplomat believes.

“This issue requires a wise approach. Neither Russia nor Belarus wants to lose its national sovereignty,” the ambassador noted.

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