Minsk hopes for approval of Lukashenko’s visit to Vatican
At a press conference in Minsk, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said that President Lukashenko’s visit to Vatican was possible and underscored that the Holy See was prepared for the visit. While in Minsk, the Holy See Cardinal met with President Lukashenko, Foreign Minister Makey, and Head of the Belarusian Orthodox Church Metropolitan Pavel. The Belarusian authorities repeat their actions from the ‘thaw’ in Belarus-EU relations in 2008-2010, however the new cycle of normalisation with Brussels might start with a visit to the Vatican without fulfilling the basic EU requirement – release of remaining political prisoners before completing the 2015 presidential campaign. The Belarusian authorities are interested in developing relations with the EU after the 2015 presidential campaign; they will attempt therefore to preserve a moderate level of repression against the opposition.
The Labour and the Tax Ministries are considering the possibility to include persons engaged in some economic activity without forming a legal entity in the social security system. When the decree No 337 comes into effect, the number of private entrepreneurs is likely to reduce due to the possibility of reducing the tax burden when switching to a tax payment as an individual. 95% of self-employed, including PE, pay insurance premiums on the basis of the minimum wage. The number of self-employed citizens is expected to increase, the number of insurance contributions to the pension system from PE will decrease, the number of citizens who will pay a fee to finance government spending will decrease by several tens. Self-employed citizens have the alternative not to pay social security fees and save resources for future pensions, which, given the gradual restriction by the state of pension requirements could be a more long-sighted option.