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Medicine, Arctic research among key cooperation avenues in Union State

Politics 09.12.2019 | 13:36
Grigory Rapota. An archive photo
Grigory Rapota. An archive photo

MINSK, 9 December (BelTA) – State Secretary of the Belarus-Russia Union State Grigory Rapota named the most promising avenues of cooperation for the Union State as he spoke to the Belarus 1 TV channel, BelTA has learned.

“I think that collaboration is a key to success of the Union State in the future. Collaboration is about comprehensible, ambitious and interesting joint projects, for example, in infrastructure development,” Grigory Rapota said. He specified that the two countries could jointly improve transport infrastructure that should be brought into line with the standards of the 21st century, to develop new medicines, and work on the treatment of most serious diseases, environmental conservation and other projects. “Another very promising avenue of cooperation is Arctic research. It is clear that this region is part of the Russian territory. However, the Republic of Belarus has many interesting solutions that could come in handy while exploring low-temperature areas. We are working on it now,” Grigory Rapota said.

After naming numerous achievements over the 20 years of integration, he pointed to a number of issues that still have to be addressed taking into consideration a new reality. “The establishment of the common economic space is impossible without harmonizing the Tax Code. Other important matters are anti-monopoly legislation, state-business relationship, a policy of subsidies. It is also advisable to harmonize these things. This could facilitate business mobility without threatening the economies of the two states. This can even benefit the two economies,” Grigory Rapota said.

There are some unresolved issues in the social policy and healthcare. “For example, the parties have put forward a proposal to provide medical care to students, as there are many Russian students in Belarus and many Belarusian students in Russia. In other words, we are going into more specific matters,” Grigory Rapota added.

The financing of the Union State programs in 2020 will contract 20% compared to 2019. The Union State chief explained that the Union State budget did not shrink. Over the past several years the parties used the money that had not been utilized before. “That money was meant to finance programs, but by now it has been utilized in full. Therefore, our 2020 budget does not have any residual reserves. Therefore, there will be one program less,” Grigory Rapota explained.

He believes that if someone puts forward some really outstanding programs that can benefit greatly the economy and science of the two states, the budget might be revised upwards. “However, applications should be prepared thoroughly. We have received quite a number of them already. We are currently processing project applications in high technology, medicine, space, electronics, and other fields. If we manage to substantiate our requests to the heads of government and state, we might hope for additional financing for these projects, too,” Grigory Rapota noted.

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