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Deep and productive integration with the closest neighbors is natural for Belarus

Deep and productive integration with the closest neighbors has been, is and will be a natural option for Belarus, says President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko in an a article published on the website of the Russian newspaper Izvestia, in which the Belarusian head of state gives his opinion on the Eurasian union, BelTA reports.

“Deep and fruitful integration with the closest neighbors has been, is and will be a natural option for Belarus,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

In his words, in the two referendums held in Belarus in the first half of the 1990s, the overwhelming majority of people voted for integration. The first integration structure – the CIS with the capital in Minsk – emerged on the wreckage of the USSR. It was followed by the CSTO and the EurAsEC.

“It is natural that we have several interstate structures. We are looking for mechanisms that would meet the interests of all the stakeholders and bring real benefits for our people, which is the number one priority,” the head of state said.

“While creating the Union State of Belarus and Russia in the 1990s, we pioneered the closest and most comprehensive integration of two independent states. It helped articulate and test the principle of integration that is moving on with the different pace and level. For fifteen years, the Union State has been a catalyst and a sort of large-scale integration laboratory. This is the source of our special pride. We were able to expand the scope of integration from the economy to social and even partly political integration. We have been able to make serious progress in ensuring equal rights of citizens, harmonizing national legislation, coordinating foreign policy. We have started implementing major international programs, including in the field of scientific and technical cooperation,” the article says

According to the President, the single system of social guarantees, equal access to education, health services, free access to employment, freedom of movement and residence that became possible thanks to the Union State are the guidelines for further work in the Troika format. “In some areas we are even ahead of the European Union,” said the Belarusian leader.

In his view, best practices of the Union State integration are reasonably and confidently applied in a broader, multilateral format. “It’s no secret that the Belarusian-Russian agreement on Customs Union of 1995 provides a sound legal framework of the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. World-class customs and border infrastructure established in the Union State allows us to effectively meet the challenges facing the Customs Union and SES,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

“It is important that in the future the Union State, the Customs Union, the SES enrich and complement each other. Our task is not to lose but to make maximum use of all available potential for integration,” the head of state said.

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