Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said that Russia and Byelorussia should integrate on the pattern of the European Union. He was speaking at a news conference in the Kremlin.
According to Putin, "integration mechanisms are well defined" in Europe. First, he noted, the European parliament takes a decision, a national parliament confirms it, and the head of state signs it, and this decision is implemented as a national law unconditionally. In the president's view, Russia and Byelorussia can act in the same way.
Putin said that the parliament of the union of Russia and Byelorussia enjoys broad powers, but the mechanism of implementing its decisions is "incomprehensible". The president warned against a situation when the union parliament should adopt some or other law, and Russia or Byelorussia would not observe it. That would discredit the idea of a union state, the Russian leader emphasised.
If, however, in Putin's view, the union parliament acts on a European model, no one would say that Russia's economy has to adopt decisions to its own detriment.
The Russian head of state said he has no differences with Byelorussian President Alexander Lukashenko. According to Putin, during his latest meeting with Lukashenko he set forth Russia's position on a union state and expressed his fears. The Byelorussian president, Putin said, agreed with some of them.
Putin said that the Russian and the Byelorussian peoples are "fraternal in the direct sense and to divide them into two states in the past was not only unwarranted, but also harmful and destructive".
At the same time, he indicated that what the heads of the two states did in that situation need not be discussed now. "We should act proceeding from today's realities," Putin said. He expressed himself in favour of making the matter of uniting Russia and Byelorussia "the widest possible public issue".