Minsk is engaging in "multi-speed integration" with Baltic states
The head of the Estonian parliamentary delegation, who visited Minsk last week, spoke about the policy of openness in relations with Belarus. Estonia does not regard Belarus as a threat to regional security. Estonian and Latvian policies and statements radically differ from the confrontational relations between Lithuania and Belarus. Due to the difference in the attitudes of the Baltic states towards sensitive issues in relations with Belarus, i.e. the Nuclear Power Plant construction in Astravets and military cooperation between Belarus and Russia, the Belarusian authorities feel more confident in shaping their regional policy.
The country's leadership has instructed the local authorities to raise minimum wages at enterprises by the end of 2019 to BYN 1,000, which would lead to an increase in the average wage in the economy as a whole to BYN 1 500. The pace of wage growth in 2017 is insufficient to ensure payroll at BYN 1000 by late 2017 without manipulating statistical indicators. In order to fulfil the president’s order, the government would have to increase budgetary expenditures on wages in healthcare and education, enterprises – to carry out further layoffs and expand the practice of taking loans to pay wages and restrict investment in modernisation of fixed assets. In 2010, the artificial increase in wages led to a threefold devaluation in 2011, an increase in the average salary to BYN 1500 will not match the capabilities of the economy and would lead to yet another devaluation.