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18 Oct, 2010 13:55

Common economic space may “absorb” Union State of Russia, Belarus

Common economic space may “absorb” Union State of Russia, Belarus

As many analysts consider the results of the meeting between the prime ministers of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan as positive, the prospects of the Union State of Russia and Belarus still remain unclear.

Common economic space may abolish the Union State of Russia and Belarus, as Minsk does not hurry to take “political decisions,” Vremya Novostey daily said.

The participants of the Customs Union of the three countries on Friday “agreed on most important issues of the establishment of a common economic space,” the paper said. “According to the compromise, at the beginning the status-quo, advantageous to Russia, remains, and then Moscow will gradually meet the wishes of its partners.”

The process of creating a common economic space on the territory of the former Soviet Union has good potential to expand, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said. Other countries, first of all, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, may join it in the near future.

On the other hand, the future of the Union State of Russia and Belarus “is increasingly becoming problematic,” the daily said. Answering a question of a Belarusian journalist, Putin stressed that “the Union State will be absorbed by the common economic space if we do not go at a rapid pace on other sensitive directions.”

One of the most important issues for Moscow is a single currency, and now “the Belarusian side should take a political decision,” the daily noted.

During the meeting in Moscow, Belarusian Prime Minister, Sergey Sidorsky, defended the Union State, describing it as a platform for discussing a wide range of the issues of cooperation between the two countries. “And the economic cooperation is the basis for developing other spheres and directions, such as science, culture, healthcare and education.”

However, many analysts note that the Union State has unclear prospects. “In the political sphere, this project has been set aside for a long time, it is not developing,” believes Belarusian political scientist Pavlyuk Bykovsky. “Recently, this project has not been talked about much, neither in Russia nor in Belarus,” he told BFM.ru website.

Vedomosti daily has described the atmosphere of the Friday talks as “unexpected mutual understanding”, even if the problems that exists in the Russian-Belarusian relations are unlikely to disappear quickly.

“The peaceful result of the meeting can be considered a signal of the Russian authorities that in the absence of Aleksandr Lukashenko, Russia and Belarus are able to come to agreements,” political scientist Mikhail Vinogradov told the paper. “All the agreements have been reached at the level of prime ministers.”

Sergey Borisov, RT