Poland is a neighbor and a very important state in Eastern Europe, but it cannot replace Russia and countries of the CIS. Not because it doesn’t have oil and gas, or not only because of that. Russia and countries of the Eurasian Economic Union and the CIS represent the main market for Belarusian goods. Not everything is perfect, there are some problems. Every country protects its own manufacturers. However, it’s time to find a way to compromise and start to understand goals of integration that has been going on for a long time. That was the words of Alexander Lukashenko at the meeting with representatives of the Eurasian Economic Union and the CIS that was held in Minsk.
11 countries joined forces in the CIS 25 years ago. 5 of them not so long ago decided on a more in-depth integration - Eurasian Economic Union, or the EEU. Together, the participating states are seeking greater integration mechanisms. What now prevents deeper integration is technical barriers in mutual trade, and the lack of a unified markets for energy and other goods. The pace of integration is increasingly criticized by Minsk.
Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
Crises and various kinds of troubles and conflicts must pull together real friends, real brothers. And our countries have still been in one common trench. We defined clear deadlines for implementation of agreements reached in the framework of the EEU. And these decisions need to be performed, no matter how difficult it is. If we do not comply with the agreements that we have managed to reach, no union will have any prospects.
For now the situation is not very encouraging. In many directions, we've seen a significant lag. A typical example: the elimination of exemptions, barriers and trade restrictions, which number is several hundred. It is necessary to resolve the issues of the functioning of the Eurasian Economic Union in conditions when one of the Member States applies unilateral measures to protect the market against third countries. We need a clear mechanism for cooperation in such situations, in the first place because we don't need discord between members of the Union. Belarus regularly raises the question of conducting a coherent industrial policy. Theoretically, everyone agrees with this idea, but we don't see its practical implementation.
We are not satisfied with the remote terms of the creation of common energy markets, as well as the liberalization of carriages by carriers of one state when actual carriages take place between points within the territory of another state. Even if we have defined preliminary terms of creation of single markets, we should not wait for their launch until the last day. If we have decided on 2019 and 2025 on certain parameters, it does not mean that in we need to wait until 2019 or 2025, respectively. Especially the situation in the world pushes us for a more rapid pace in all areas.
Any integration, especially with the experience, like the CIS, requires modernization, constant updating and improvement. Without them, one can't go far in any sphere.
Today, figuratively speaking, it is necessary to clean up everything, remove the excess parts. We need to leave only those parts that really work, based on this very concept. Each new decision should be based on economic feasibility and financial return. In recent years, we have been constantly experiencing problems with the completeness of the budget of the CIS bodies. I believe that one reason for this is the lack of so-called innovative ideas and outstanding results in the areas of the Commonwealth's interaction.
We need ambitious goals. We need to look for common points of economic growth. Our scientists see cooperation in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes as one of the factors in the development of scientific and technical and innovation potential of the CIS member states. Large joint space projects could be the basis of this interaction.
The heads of government gather in order to discuss the pile of economic issues. Not for the first time does Minsk become a venue for international discussions. The forum participants also used opportunities to discuss bilateral relations. For example, Alexander Lukashenko met with Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Yagub Eyyubov.
The Belarusian leader had a conversation with the head of the Russian Government Dmitry Medvedev. Systematic work of expert groups goes on constantly in the context of any relationship, but personal contacts at high-level meetings, as a rule, are a very tangible impetus for further development.