Borodin: Single Union Currency Could Be Introduced In 2002-3

State Secretary of the Russia-Belarus Union Pavel Borodin announced at a Moscow press conference today that a single currency could be introduced in the union state as early as 2002-3. According to Borodin, "this is entirely realistic, but the political will of the presidents of Russia and Belarus is needed." The programme for founding the union state sets January 1st 2005 as the date for the introduction of the single currency. The secretary also reported that a session of the Supreme State Council of the Union of Russia and Belarus would consider political issues involved in the formation of the new state. The session will be held in Moscow on December 25th. Its participants will discuss elections to the union state's lower and upper chambers of parliament, as well as a draft constitution and the implementation of the union budget. Borodin said that the 2003 budget would be three billion rubles, while he added that a considerable portion of this figure would be used to fund joint Russian-Belarussian projects. When talking about the prospects for constructing a union parliamentary centre, the state secretary said that an American company was already prepared to issue a 2 billion dollar loan for this purpose. According to Borodin, foreign investors have also expressed their interest in a programme for a transport corridor linking the union state with Europe and Asia. The foreign parties are prepared to put up around 15 billion dollars.