State support programmes in Belarus may become obstacle for new IMF loan
On July 8th – 15th, an IMF evaluation team will work in Belarus in order to assess whether Belarus has applied adequate efforts to reform the economy sufficient to obtain a new loan from the IMF. In view of the measures the state has undertaken to support the economy and the volume of such support, the IMF may decide that the efforts were insufficient and strengthened structural imbalances in the economy, thus requiring the national currency devaluation. Consideration of a new IMF loan programme is likely to be postponed until after the elections. Taking into account the expected debt refinancing by Russia, Belarus requires addition USD 1.5-2 billion. In August 2015, foreign currency bonds may be repaid from foreign exchange reserves and partially from new loans on foreign and domestic market.
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.