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Russian Official Wants Minsk to “Cool Down” and Update EU Agreement

MOSCOW – Siluanov proposed to update the Union Agreement with Belarus based on deep integration. Russia is ready to discuss with Belarus the update of state agreement to European Union, First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of the Russian Federation, Anton Siluanov, said Wednesday.
We have created a working group to analyze the text of the agreement on the Union (signed in 1999), we suggest that it shall be updated, said Siluanov in an interview with RBC -TV, answering a question on how the situation is developing around the dispute between Minsk and Moscow over the compensation of the tax maneuver in the oil sector.
According to him in recent years, the movement towards the creation of the State of Union has slowed down and has hardly been implemented.
He stressed that Russia will help Belarus. Siluanov asserts that the opinion that “Russia in this dispute wants to influence the solution of integration problems of certain political problems” is inaccurate.
“It would be strange to grant subsidies to companies from a foreign country. This could be done if we had a deeper degree of integration. If you want the same regime, let’s go back to our union agreement,” said the Russian official.
He added that Russia still supports the Belarusian economy in the form of loans, duty-free oil supplies and preferential gas prices. “It’s billions of dollars a year,” he said.
According to him, the Belarussian partner needs to calm down a bit, to look more broadly at the situation that has developed.
This topic has recently been at the top of the bilateral agenda. In early November, Minsk and Moscow began an active phase of negotiations on a mechanism to compensate the Belarussian side for the fall in budget revenues due to the start of the implementation of the so-called oil tax maneuver in the Russian Federation. Russia, the mechanism provides for a progressive reduction of export duties on oil and petroleum products.
The fiscal maneuver will lead to higher oil prices in Belarus and a reduction in export duties on petroleum products.
According to the Belarussian side, the fiscal losses resulting from the fiscal maneuver in the Russian Federation in 2019 will amount to $400 million, based on the price of oil at $70 per barrel, for the period 2019-2024, Minsk estimates losses at $10.5 billion.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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