WTO accession of Kazakhstan to deteriorate Belarusian positions in EEU
In an interview the Russia-24 TV Channel, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makey said that Belarus was not completely satisfied with the dynamics and progress in the EEU. Belarus is gravely concerned about the upcoming Kazakhstan’s WTO accession, so as it may significantly deteriorate bilateral trade and economic cooperation. That said, during its recent visit to Minsk, the parliamentary delegation of Kazakhstan headed by Chairman of the Committee for Agriculture of the Kazakh Majilis Romin Madinov, attempted to relieve tension and assured Belarus of Kazakhstan’s interest in buying Belarusian agricultural machinery. Belarus has remained the only of the five EEU members without the WTO membership., Belarus suffers the most losses from EEU member states’ WTO accession in terms of loss of competitiveness of Belarusian mechanical engineering and agro-industry on the Eurasian market.
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.