Belarus may appeal to court to protect her rights within EEU
In late 2016 and early 2017, Belarus made efforts to protect the interests of the Belarusian food producers within the EEU. Apparently, she appealed to the EEU Court residing in Minsk. The Court’s decision is unlikely to revoke the restrictive measures introduced by the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Monitoring Service, however, it could somewhat restrict the powers of the Russian supervisory authority.
Russian Minister for Integration and Macroeconomics Tatiana Valovaya said that Belarus had the right to appeal to the court regarding food supplies to Russia.
As the Union State is losing its political weight as a platform for cooperation between Belarus and Russia, Belarus is focusing on the EEU lobbying tools. For instance, in late 2016 and early 2017, Belarus made several inquiries to the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) to assess the legality of the restrictive measures imposed by the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Monitoring Service against Belarusian goods. The EEC confirmed violations by the Russian supervisory authority.
In particular, Belarusian former Prime Minister and Minister for Industry and Agroindustrial Complex of the EEC Sergey Sidorsky explained that veterinary supervision within the EEU should only be carried out in respect of veterinary risks, and that identifying violations unrelated to veterinary risks should not be used as grounds for imposing veterinary measures restricting product supplies. On December 19th – 21st, 2016, the EEC held a working meeting with the participation of the EEC representatives, the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Monitoring Service and the Russian Agriculture Ministry representatives and officials from the Belarusian Agricultural Ministry, where the parties came to an agreement about the shortcomings and Belarus provided all documents required to resolve the disputes. However, no action by the Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Monitoring Service has followed.
Meanwhile, the EEC has no mechanisms to influence the national governments. Most likely, as the next step, Belarus may appeal to the EEU Court to protect the rights of the manufacturers.
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.