Russia and Belarus to create single payment space within Union State — Putin

Saturday, 11 September, 2021 - 01:33

 Russia and Belarus are planning to integrate their national payment systems and create a single payment space within the Union State, President Vladimir Putin said after his talks with Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko in Kremlin on Thursday.

Putin noted that some of the programs that were developed within the Union state are aimed at harmonizing the tax and customs legislation of the two countries.

“The general guidelines for the formation of a single monetary policy in the future have been determined. [This includes] implementation of currency regulation, integration of national payment systems and creation of a single payment space within the Union State,” the Russian leader said.

The two countries are also going to sign an agreement on general principles for levying indirect taxes, and to introduce an integrated system for administering such taxes within the Union State.

“All this will help ensure fair competition and increase business activity in the financial market, as well as effectively respond to the risks of money laundering and financing of criminal activities, including terrorism,” the Russian President summed up.

Common currency

It is too early to talk about a common currency for Russia and Belarus, the two countries first need to ensure a common macroeconomic policy, Putin said.

“As for a single currency, we agree with this (with the fact that it is too early to talk about establishing such a currency – TASS), and Alexander Grigorievich (Lukashenko – TASS) agreed. It is very important to conduct a single macroeconomic policy. The first steps have been taken, I have already said that the Central Bank of Russia and the Bank of Belarus must harmonize monetary policy, integrate payment systems, information security in the financial sector. All this is needed to approach a more complex tool,” Putin said.

He noted that all decisions must be made gradually.

“It is all in the roadmaps, in these [allied] programs,” Putin added. He referred to the situation in the European Union, where countries with weaker economies are suffering.

“In a certain situation they could use devaluation but they cannot, they do not have a national currency, while the euro is a strong currency. That’s all, and what should they do? There is only one way is to raise prices for everything, and this is fraught with social difficulties, consequences,” the Russian President explained.

“That is why we need to act very carefully, analyze the pros and cons, the positive aspects of our neighbors and negative examples. We are trying to do this,” Putin summed up.

In turn, Lukashenko noted that the central banks of Russia and Belarus had studied the single currency topic, but “asked [the leaders of the two countries] <…> not to touch upon this issue yet.” According to the Belarusian leader, the central banks believe that the states are not yet ready for such a step. But Lukashenko added that they should return to this issue.