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Equal economic opportunities, common markets seen as ultimate goal of Union State programs

15:36, 9 November

The ultimate goal of the 28 Union State programs approved at a meeting of the Supreme State Council of the Union State on 4 November is to create equal conditions, eliminate barriers, and set up common markets, Belarusian Ambassador to Russia Vladimir Semashko said at a session of experts "Russian-Belarusian relations in 2021: Union State programs, new challenges and areas of integration", BelTA has learned.

Vladimir Semashko noted that the Union State programs cover almost all sectors of the economy. "The ultimate goal is to create additional and equal conditions for the progressive economic growth and improving the living standards and, of course, strengthening bilateral allied relations," he said.

"The primary goal of this package is to eliminate the existing barriers and remove restrictions in bilateral trade, to ensure equal rights of business entities of the two countries, to set up the common energy markets, to draw up a list of joint projects, to ensure mutual non-discriminatory participation in subsidy and public procurement programs and dozens of other important steps, without which it will be impossible to pursue a single industrial and agrarian policy," the ambassador said.

The program to integrate the energy markets is among the number one priorities, the ambassador said. “By ensuring equal doing business conditions for Belarusian and Russian economic entities, lowering energy costs, we plan to improve the competitiveness of products and increase exports to third countries,” the diplomat said.

Vladimir Semashko stressed that social policy remains a development priority for both Belarus and Russia. “We aim to implement a coordinated policy in the social and labor sector, ensure further harmonization of legislation on social security, labor protection, pensions, respect for equal rights of citizens, common approaches to provide social support measures to disadvantaged categories of citizens, the disabled and veterans,” he said.

The ambassador added that the Union State programs are planned for implementation within the next two years. “At the end of this period we will need to take a look at what has been done, and where there are still reserves and more time is needed,” said Vladimir Semashko.

The expert meeting “Russian-Belarusian relations in 2021: Union State programs, new challenges, and integration directions” was organized by the A.A. Gromyko Association for Foreign Policy Studies. The event took place using videoconference technologies and premises of the Institute of Europe of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Representatives of Belarusian and Russian government agencies, agencies of the Union State of Belarus and Russia, Belarusian and Russian experts took part in it. They discussed three areas: this year's results in Belarusian-Russian relations, top-priority tasks concerning the realization of Union State programs, and integration beyond the framework of Union State programs, in particular, what needs to be done within the next 2-3 years.

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