Russia-Belarus Union State to Have Common Currency - 2 April, 2003 - News

The drafting of the Constitutional Act of the Russia-Belarus Union State is the main issue to be discussed at the session of the Union State's Council of Ministers in Moscow. The participants in the session will also consider the realisation of a plan of action to create conditions for introducing a common currency. The sides agreed that the Russian rouble should become a common currency of the Union from January 1, 2005.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov pointed out that the solution of several questions in this field has been delayed, and today it is necessary to make a decision on speeding up this work.

The council of ministers will also discuss at its session the principles of the economic policy for the current year and the forecast of the social and economic development of Russia, Belarus and the union state as a whole in the coming three years.

The Russian premier stressed that the principles of the economic policy should be co-ordinated by the sides so that they could contribute to the build-up of a common economic environment and further economic development of the two countries.

For his part, Prime Minister of Belarus Gennady Novitsky believes that a lot has already been done to create the union state, common economic environment and introduce a common monetary unit.

Novitsky pointed out that Russia remains a major trade partner of Belarus. Its share in the Belarussian foreign trade amounts to 58 percent, while Belarus ranks second, after Germany, in the Russia's foreign trade.