Prior to a meeting of the Russia-Belarus Union State Supreme State Council, the issues of bilateral trade, economic and energy cooperation were discussed.
Transcript of the beginning of the meeting:
Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Kobyakov, ladies and gentlemen, we agreed to meet with the prime minister of the Republic of Belarus to discuss the current situation just ahead of the Supreme State Council meeting. First of all, of course, to discuss the economic situation so as to make the correct decisions tomorrow at the council meeting and consider scenarios for the evolution of our bilateral ties for the future, the near future, taking into account the fact that there have been a lot of negative developments in both the Russian and Belarusian economies. The trends are complex and, like never before, we need to coordinate an economic policy. This is precisely what we do, but in the current situation it’s especially important to cushion the negative effects for the people of our countries and our Union State, to minimise the impact of the negative economic influences on the life and social situation of our people.
I believe this issue will be addressed tomorrow both by the presidents and by other participants in the Supreme State Council meeting. And of course, there is a need to coordinate our work, taking into account the fact that we live not only in the context of bilateral ties but also have a viable Eurasian Economic Union. We have transferred a number of functions to this association. We have supranational bodies. We need to take our decisions with consideration for this association.
I propose briefly discussing the current situation, touching on the most sensitive issues, primarily related to financial cooperation, energy cooperation and some other issues. Please, Mr Kobyakov.
Andrei Kobyakov: Thank you, Mr Medvedev, for the opportunity of having this meeting today. Indeed, we are making preparations for tomorrow’s meeting of the Supreme State Council. It will address a number of issues that are very important for the life of our Union State. I’d like to point out that even though our countries are the founders of the Eurasian Economic Union, the Union State has always been the format for dealing with the most challenging issues that are of key importance to our economies and to our partners. I’m sure that the solutions that we look for and find in our bilateral relations can also be used by our partners in developing trade and economic cooperation within the framework of the entire Eurasian Economic Union.
We cannot be satisfied with last year’s results of bilateral trade volumes in terms of foreign currency. Nevertheless, our economic ties have not been cut. They’re developing as new opportunities open for economic growth, and we’re here today also to take advantage of these opportunities. The Belarusian-Russian action plan to provide additional conditions for the development of trade and economic cooperation, which we signed a year ago, has worked. Perhaps we could have done better, but it worked as it should have, given the conditions that evolved at that time. Our objective today – and I hope that Mr Medvedev also supports this – is to see what else can be done to ensure that our people, our countries can benefit in economic terms.