Belarus may delay approval of EEU Customs Code
President Lukashenka demanded to ensure that national interests were protected when signing the EEU Customs Code, and to study the document carefully with the "involvement of all professionals, including the opposition-minded". It should be noted that the signing of the document was scheduled for December 26th, 2016, i.e. Belarusian officials only have two weeks to work on the document and to fulfil the president’s demand. That said, Lukashenka threatened all those responsible for his task with personal liability if “any shortcomings” come up while implementing the Code. The Belarusian officials are unlikely to cope with the task within the set deadline.
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.