New unemployment statistics to allow redistributing budgetary funds required to improve labour market situation
According to a sample survey of households, the unemployment rate in 2016 in Belarus was 5.8% of the economically active population. Meanwhile, official unemployment statistics quoted less than 1%. The difference is due to different methodology in assessing the unemployment. Official statistics only includes those officially registered on the labour exchange, excluding those searching for a job independently. The employment policy is likely to be revised, unemployment benefits are likely to grow and more funds are likely to be allocated to improve the labour market situation, including wider opportunities for retraining and self-employment. Amid further layoffs at industrial enterprises, the state is likely to oblige closing and operating enterprises to retrain laid-off workers, which would increase the financial burden on enterprises, but would reduce time needed to find a new job.
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.