Unemployment in Belarus persists after May 1st 2017 deadline
The Labour Minister announced that all unemployed who were looking for a job had found one as of May 1st, 2017. In April, more than 85 000 people found jobs. In late March there were 43,400 unemployed registered. In order to ensure jobs, the Ministry has increased the volume of paid public works. Official unemployment is likely to decrease as of May 1st,2017, however, not to 0%. The number of hired workers in the following months may exceed the number of those laid off due to seasonal jobs and additional jobs created by May 1st to fulfil the president’s task. Excessive employment in the economy is likely to continue, albeit the pace of layoffs is likely to reduce. Zero unemployment rate in Belarus is hardly attainable due to the existence of single-industry towns, which have no jobs to offer and due to the inelaborate internal labour migration, which could help to smooth the uneven demand for labour force in different regions of Belarus.
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.