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Supreme Eurasian Economic Council: Alexander Lukashenko makes realistic speech at Astana summit

Summer has come! But not everyone is on vacation, not even all students. We will return to the topic of student exams today. But let us start with big politics - after all, politicians don't have vacations as such. Even while on vacation, any head of state is responsible for the country. The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) leaders, the presidents of Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, opened the summer calendar season with political work at the summit in Astana. And here is a short quote on the subject.

Valentina Matviyenko, Chairwoman of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation:
If the five states decided to create a single Eurasian Economic Union, then these are close states, they are the closest partners. And, of course, we consider them as such. Otherwise one would not be able to interbreed a hedgehog with a gentle doe.

We recorded the interview with Chairwoman of the Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko in Moscow and we will come back to it later in the program. The conversation covered not only and not so much the EEU. Although it is not simple "to interbreed a hedgehog and a gentle doe" as Valentina Matviyenko said figuratively. And the summit in Astana confirmed this. Alexander Lukashenko made a realistic speech there, without empty reverence and "sweet talk". The world's media are still discussing the speech of the Belarusian head of state. Our correspondent Yevgeny Pustovoy has more details.

Presidents of the EEU countries were met by clean and shining Astana and Belarusian communal machinery on its streets.

There are lots of Chinese communal machines here too but only Belarusian units are used to clean territories near government facilities. Manarbek Abdilmanov is an important person in Astana. He supervises the cleaning of Akorda - the White Palace.

Manarbek Abdilmanov, chief engineer of a special municipal enterprise:
We purchased six units in three years. These units proved their worth. We would like to buy more. It is easier for us to work with you, because the market is full of these spare parts. When it comes to China, there are problems with delivery, with service and maintenance.

Keep quality, innovate and diversify export markets - such are the requirements of the Belarus President. Before flying to Astana, he visited the modernized factory Amkodor Pinsk. 

Alexander Lukashenko was the first of the leaders to arrive for a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.

Each such visit of the Belarusian President to Kazakhstan contributed to an increase in the bilateral turnover. In 2012, it exceeded $900 million and in 2013 it was already $1 billion. In 2014, when the EEU was established, Belarus and Kazakhstan's trade amounted to record $1.2 billion. But plans of officials to achieve a $3 billion turnover proved to be far from reality.

Belarus and Kazakhstan are referred to as the gateway of the Eurasian Economic Union. But sometimes negative trends penetrate through this gateway. In this case, the crisis resulted in weakening demand, while the national currencies’ exchange rate turmoil affected revenues in dollar terms. It's time to install a lock on that gateway, the experienced players of the Eurasian region decided.   

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
We earlier identified the ways in which the need to move and much has been done in this direction. But we need some new breath of air. And we need to instruct our governments and ourselves push our relations to a new level in order to somehow get out of this situation.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan:
We have created a lot of joint ventures. The turnover has, of course, declined because of this situation, but I think we do not need to worry, because the physical volumes have preserved.

The turnover has decreased across the EEU. Belarus and Russia saw a reduction of about 30% and Belarus and Kazakhstan about 20%. And this happened in the first year of the integration association's existence. Other results were expected from the EEU. Although without the EEU, the decline would be even deeper. Experts also point out external factors. Alexander Lukashenko clearly named the drawbacks at the meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
It is necessary to get rid of internal exemptions and restrictions in mutual trade. Our association was established two years ago, but we still have about 600 exemptions and limitations. A level playing field for the EEU member states and barrier-free environment have not yet been established.

The Belarus President not only raises economic problems before his counterparts, but is also ready to offer solutions. On the eve of the summit, the heads of Belarus and Kazakhstan agreed on new road maps and the 'reset' of relations. The presidents want to raise Belarusian-Kazakh cooperation from mercantile and market relations to space heights.          

Anatoly Nichkasov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Kazakhstan:
Stakeholders from the Belarusian and Kazakh sides have developed draft interstate agreements on the peaceful use of outer space and the further development of communications infrastructure.

Yevgeny Pustovoy, correspondent:
Kazakh koumiss, Russian biscuits and Belarusian sausage. However, this is not everything the EEU boasts. Trading only in foodstuffs, the EEU will not be able to function properly. The light industry cannot be a panacea for the joint turnover either. In order to get into the elite club of cross-border associations, one needs to develop modern technologies and large-scale production sites, such as MTZ. And then this kind of dress code will allow the EEU to take a decent niche in the global economy.

Industrial cooperation is the key to successful joint turnover. Belarus, unlike other EEU states, retained its scientific school and large production companies. Why open the way to someone else's machinery when you have your own?

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
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 proceed with the practical realization of these tasks.

One of the ideas of Alexander Lukashenko, which was readily picked up by his colleagues, was the integration of integrations. But before the EEU becomes a bridge between the EU, ASEAN and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, it needs to build support for its businesses.

To retain power at least on its market, it is not necessary to distinguish goods by national brands. It does not matter whether the goods are made in Belarus, Russia or Kazakhstan. One Union means one logo: the EEU.        

Alexander Nakhayenko, first deputy chairman of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce:
We could move in parallel in our efforts to make the EEU as an organization and EEU goods recognizable. We need these processes to take place in parallel. Then, we will succeed.

During one month, Amkodor makes about 100 units of machinery. Half is exported to Russia. Amkodor is even developing its production site in Russia's Bryansk.   

Oleg Sinko, deputy director of marketing center - head of the Russia sales department, "Amkodor - managing holding company":
This is not just "screwdriver assembly" as it sometimes happens in the Russian Federation, but a company with a localization of up to 30%. The plans for the near future are to bring this figure to 50%. We will be potential participants of almost all Russian state programs with significant government subsidies.

The Eurasian Union countries are in one team. But to make sure this does not become a yoke, it is necessary to take into account the interests of all participants. The EEU nations occupy one-fifth of the land, and interests of all the states should not be lost on this vast space. This is exactly the case when size does not matter.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
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. There has been a long debate about the creation of a single market of pharmaceuticals and medical products. But here, there was only talk and no action again. It is necessary to strengthen the alliance in every way. Then we will be strong and will speak with one voice. For now, we don't see that.

The five presidents are as the five fingers of one hand. They can be together as a powerful fist in the international arena or as an open palm of friendly cooperation with other countries. The main thing is that they should be together for real, not only on photos at the EEU's festive summits and anniversaries.

Supreme Eurasian Economic Council: Alexander Lukashenko makes realistic speech at Astana summit