National Bank has reduced abilities to regulate size of international reserves
According to the National Bank, in February 2015, assets not included in the international reserves fell by USD 238.6 million to USD 477 million. Using these funds, the National Bank may adjust the international reserves volume, but this amount is only enough for one month. In the future, the financial authorities are planning a new Eurobond issue, despite unfavourable situation on the external financial markets. The authorities are likely to introduce new restrictions on consumer imports, while interest rates on foreign currency deposits might grow slightly. In addition, the decisions already taken to reduce the volume of currency settlements in the country may be revoked. Devaluation has reduced pressure on the domestic currency market by individuals and legal entities; however, Belarus may only make due foreign debt payments if she receives new foreign loans.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.