Reorganisation at Belarusian farms may reduce state subsidies to agriculture
The draft Agricultural Development Programme until 2020, envisages reorganisation of unprofitable agricultural enterprises. As of July 2015, over 65% of agricultural enterprises were unprofitable without the state support and return on sales for the industry as a whole was negative. If the draft is adopted, loss-making enterprises will be reorganised and merged with farms. The state support will decrease due to reduced number of unprofitable enterprises. In addition, employment in agriculture will reduce due to the automation of processes. The authorities anticipate these measures to lead to a better variety of fruit and vegetables on the market and to the reduced food imports.
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.