Belarus insists on her terms for visa liberalization with EU
Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Elena Kupchina said that during negotiations with the EU on visa facilitation and readmission, no agreement had been reached regarding visa-free trips for diplomats and members of official delegations. The Belarusian authorities want political conditions for the resumption of the Belarus-EU dialogue to be completely removed, including the suspension or lift of EU sanctions without the release of political prisoners. The Belarusian authorities say that the EU is ready for more pragmatic relations with Belarus, however, with the preservation of rhetoric about human rights and democratisation. In addition, official Minsk seeks to impose its vision on the development of Belarus-EU relations when Brussels starts consultations on the revision and reformatting of the European Neighbourhood Policy towards Belarus. Meanwhile, the Belarusian government has no intention to change its attitude towards political opponents, and is more likely to toughen conditions for the opposition activities before the 2015 presidential election.
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.