Belarus displeased with lack of progress in Eurasian Economic Union

Belarus displeased with lack of progress in Eurasian Economic Union

Day of big integration in the capital of Kazakhstan. The summit of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Astana approved the concept of the single market of oil and oil products. This is one of the results of May 31 talks in the Kazakh capital. In total, there were 14 issues on the agenda. The presidents of Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan also spoke about deepening of Eurasian Economic Union's (EEU) relations with third countries and international associations, and paid attention to the problems of the integration community.

The Belarus President began his visit to Kazakhstan on May 30 and that day met with his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev. May 31, Nazarbayev met with Vladimir Putin in the same room. The three leaders were the progenitors of the EEU.

The EEU is becoming attractive for global players such as the EU and China. Experts say that 40 states are interested in concluding agreements with the association. EU candidate Serbia and Vietnam want to trade freely with the EEU countries. The EEU can by the way benefit from Belarus' experience in cooperation with these countries.

May 31, Alexander Lukashenko signed a free trade agreement with Vietnam. Initially zero duties will apply to 50% of goods in which the parties to the agreement trade and in 2025 the figure will reach 90%.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan:
Today, it is safe to say that the Eurasian Economic Union is a full-fledged integration association. Now the convergence of our economies is taking place in accordance with the plans and deadlines we set in the EEU agreement. We know that there is a growing interest around the world in our economic union, which is more and more intensively developing international contacts. In this regard, at my suggestion as the chairman of our organization, this year was declared the year of deepening economic relations of the Eurasian Economic Union with third countries and key integration associations.

It was Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko who first paid attention to the possibility of integration of integrations. Today, speaking at an enlarged meeting, other presidents also talked about the Union of Unions - Eurasian and European. Alexander Lukashenko boldly raised some unresolved domestic issues.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Firstly, we should get rid of internal exemptions and restrictions in mutual trade. Our association has evolved from a customs union and the single economic space to the Eurasian Economic Union, but the number of these exceptions and limitations has not changed and remained at about 600. A level playing field for the EEU member states and a barrier-free environment have not yet been established. Moreover, after signing of the agreement our internal turnover has been falling. In 2012-2013, it was at $65 billion and ended up at only $45 billion in 2015.
Secondly, we have not yet implemented the initiative on the development of mechanisms of the EEU's functioning when one of the members applies unilateral market protection measures against third countries.
Third, in September 2015, the meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council adopted the guidelines of industrial cooperation. We decided on the parameters of the agreed measures to support domestic producers, set cooperation benchmarks in the development of industrial exports. Now we have to actively proceed with the practical realization of these tasks.
Fourth, we have made the first steps towards integration in the energy sector. We have developed and approved the concept of building a common energy market. Today, we reviewed the same plans for gas, oil and oil products. But the path from concepts to their implementation is sometimes very long. And it is we who are the reason for that.
And we need everything I've said in order to confidently engage in dialogue with external partners. To do this, we need to generate our own highly developed single market. We need to be strong ourselves and in every way strengthen the alliance. Then it will be easier for us to conduct a dialogue with the European Union, with China, and with others. Then we will be strong and will speak with one voice. For now we don't see that.

The head of Kyrgyzstan supported the Belarusian side.

Almazbek Atambayev, President of the Kyrgyz Republic:
Despite the positive aspects of integration, in particular the abolition of customs controls at the border with the Republic of Kazakhstan, improved situation with migrant workers in Russia and other EurAsEC member countries, I would like to mention and support Alexander Lukashenko in the fact that there is still a lot of different barriers between our countries. Supporting the format of such cooperation, I would urge that we continue to refrain from measures that could jeopardize the achievement of the main goals and objectives of integration, and direct our forces to the elimination of such barriers, which may discredit the very idea of ​​union.

But these are only the internal nuances. In the international arena, the credibility of the Eurasian Economic Union is growing. The abbreviation EEU is alongside with such multinational unions as the SCO, the EU and ASEAN.

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation:
We support Kazakhstan chairmanship's proposal to focus on the further deepening of economic ties of the union with other countries and integration associations. First of all with the states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and ASEAN. In this direction have already done a lot: we set up a free trade zone with Vietnam, we are preparing a list of specific projects supporting ideas of pairing the Eurasian Economic Union with the Chinese initiative Silk Road.

Moscow will host the next meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council. In December, new agreements can be signed.

The EEU agreement is now two years old. At this age, a person is just beginning to confidently stand on feet. In the EEU format, a fifth of the population of the land is moving along common economic path.