The statement says that on April 2 eight years ago a new stage began in the unification of the two brotherly peoples of Russia and Belarus. From a commonwealth to the union of the two states and then to the Union state is the road which our nations have traversed in this short time.
The statement goes on to say that Russian-Belarussian integration has always been targeting acceleration of the socio-economic development of our states, higher wellbeing of the peoples on the basis of forming the common economic environment, unification of the material and intellectual potentials of our countries, ensurance of common security in the face of the new threats and challenges.
Duma deputies note that, "despite the presence of a set of unsettled problems, life has fully confirmed the truth of our peoples' choice of the road towards the formation of the Union state".
The document says that bilateral integration has already yielded tangible fruit: the lifting of border and customs barriers has provided the freedom of movement between Russia and Belarus, equal opportunities have been guaranteed for the peoples of our countries in the getting of free education, social services, equal property rights.
Much of the resources from the Union budget is going to implement joint programmes, which has made it possible to rehabilitate a range of vital production facilities, additionally to create about 400,000 jobs. Steps have been made to shape the common economic environment.
In 2003 trade turnover between our countries reached 12.5 billion dollars. Russia and Belarus have approached a qualitative new level of cooperation aimed at the further dovetailing of the economic potentials of the two nations and the formation of the currency union. Of the key importance here is the realisation of agreements on introduction of the Russian rouble as the common currency, the document stresses.
Duma deputies note that the Union is the most advanced integration association on the post-Soviet space and many believe that many of its elements can be used in the integration processes of the states of the Commonwealth.