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2017 EEU Summit in Bishkek: outcome of meeting

Economic partnership of five countries was discussed by the presidents of the EEU at the summit in Bishkek. Alexander Lukashenko signed the Customs Code of the Eurasian Economic Union the day before and with positive hopes left for the meeting of leaders in the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

Bishkek is a city with a population of one million people. It is one of the greenest cities of the former Soviet Union: as many as 7 square meters of plants per person. Bishkek was also the capital of Eurasian friendship in the week. The tower with a chiming clock symbolizes the very friendship. It was presented by Armenia to Kyrgyzstan. By the way, these two countries are joining the EEU founder states. The State Residence Ala Archa has become a symbol as well.

Bishkek held many forums and summits. Last year it hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit and the CIS Leaders Summit. And now it is warmly greeting the Eurasian Five. By the way, President Putin arrived on time, though journalists were saying that he’ll be late as usual.

Even during the official photographing with the host of the forum Almazbek Atambayev, leaders of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan stay together. These were the three countries who founded the organization. Only then Armenia and Kyrgyzstan joined it. However, the summit for Alexander Lukashenko in Bishkek doesn’t begin with the negotiations with the EEU presidents.

Moldova. A fiend and a partner of Belarus. The two countries today a ready to open new joint assembly facilities of trolleybuses and tractors, fruits and vegetable processing plants. By the way, it is not the first time Alexander Lukashenko meets Igor Dodon, who won the second round of the 2016 presidential elections in Moldova. It is too early to speak about Moldova’s full participation in the EEU and its fruitful cooperation with the members of the organization. However, the dialogue with Belarus can and needs to be developed.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus:
We do everything possible so that Belarus’ ties with this wonderful country don’t break. I know this country very well; I visited Moldova several times during the Soviet period. Moldova had different governments, different presidents, but we tried maintaining relations.

Igor Dodon, President of the Republic of Moldova:
People in Moldova know Belarus very well; they are envious of many of the things and reforms taking place in Belarus. They quite often provide examples that Belarus managed to preserve something good in the Soviet times, the agriculture and infrastructure projects. It is a very good example for Moldova.

By the way, Moldova was assigned the observer status in the EEU after the summit. What is more, a lot was said about cooperation with third countries during the meeting. The commodity circulation of the EEU with third countries reached 37%. However, the members of the organization are sure that it is only the beginning. Establishment of common oil and gas markets, equal conditions for EEU members are on the organization’s list.

During Belarus’ chairmanship in the EEU in 2015 Kyrgyzstan was accepted to the organization. The main event of 2016 was the free trade area with Vietnam. Everyone expected significant news from the summit this year as well.

Today the result of cooperation can be seen. It is planned to make 2017 a make-or-break year (a suggestion of Alexander Lukashenko).

Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus:
By focusing on the perfection of the relations inside the EEU, we are not forgetting about widening the outbound. And here, I’ll be honest with you, making current preferential agreements corresponds to the interests of Belarus. I am sure that it corresponds to other countries’ interests as well. That is why I call for using them more widely for the diversification of trade and investment relations with our partners, for enhancement of industrial and agricultural cooperation. The establishment of a joint economic union, the task which underlies in the EEU agreements, finds understanding and response among other states of the region. The proof to this is the agenda of the current meeting, the statement of Igor Dodon, President of the Republic of Moldova, and the ambition of many countries to establish a free economic trade area with the EEU. However, it is one thing to bind sound ideas in a document, but to realize these ideas is a completely different thing. This is where the EEU has enough of unresolved issues. The Union didn’t manage to stop the decrease of the joint commodity circulation and to exclude the causes which led to it in 2016. I am not mentioning other problems but this one is the main one as we are in an economic union.

It was emphasized a lot of times at the summit that about 50 countries want to cooperate with the EEU. China, India, Iran, Singapore and many more. The authority of the EEU is increasing on the international arena as a whole.

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation:
The structure of exporting and importing operations improved, the share of raw materials in trade decreased and the share of machinery, vehicles, equipment, food and agricultural products increased in 2016. Cooperation with the Republic of Belarus is developing, and what is more, it is actively developing. As for some large plants, the interdependence is 40% and more. Many products, which are made in Belarus, are looked at by the Russian Federation as a production of domestic manufacturers and enjoy the same benefits on state buying to the territory of the Russian Federation.

As a result of the summit in Bishkek, as many as 11 documents were signed. The major guideposts of macroeconomic policy were laid down; changes were made to EEU’s rules of procedure.

Straight after the summit security issues were discussed by the members of the CSTO within the framework of an informal meeting. The main negotiations were held in private. Organizational issues were discussed as well. Yuri Khachaturov was appointed as new Secretary General of the CSTO.

Following the results of two meetings, the presidents of the EEU will emphasize that tomorrow is with such a union. The proof to this statement will be expected at the next meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, which will be held on October 11, 2017 in Moscow.

2017 EEU Summit in Bishkek: outcome of meeting