Alexander Lukashenko chaired the meeting, which involved the Russian and Belarusian Prime Ministers, Speakers of Parliament and heads of national delegations.
Mr Putin opened the meeting and said the fact that some of the Union State’s decisions had not been carried out on time should not be overdramatised. The Russian President said the creation of a common economic space was a key task, and required efforts to harmonise economic legislation.
The Russian President said that Union State bodies would receive certain powers as dictated by the integration process, and this would require both countries to renounce part of their sovereignty. Mr Putin said the delegation of additional executive powers to Union State bodies was a very subtle process, and any decisions in this area must be taken by consensus.
The Supreme State Council examined seven main issues, including the introduction of a common currency and the establishment of a joint money issuing centre and the creation of a common customs space with standard tariff and non-tariff regulation. Union State security was also discussed. The heads of national Central Election Commissions spoke on preparations to elect the Union State’s Parliament.
Five protocols in different areas of the Union State’s activity were signed after the meeting. Resolutions were also signed on implementing the Union State’s security programme until 2005 and the decisions of the Union State’s Supreme State Council, on creating a common customs space and a joint system of tariff and non-tariff regulation, on introducing a common currency and establishing a joint money issuing centre. Starting on January 1, 2005, the Russian rouble will become the common currency of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, and a new currency will be issued on January 1, 2008.
A resolution was also signed on implementing Russian-Belarusian agreements on settling issues concerning the discontinuation of activities of Union State bodies.
After the meeting, the Russian and Belarusian Presidents and Prime Ministers negotiated separately.
Mr Putin and Mr Lukashenko later held a news conference.