Belarus becomes first chairing country of EEU
Belarus accepts presidency of Eurasian Economic Union in 2015, becoming first country to chair the EEU.
The Heads of State chose Belarus as the first chair at the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council session hosted by Moscow in December.
The agenda covered over 20 issues and brought the signing of a solid package of documents developing integration ties and improving the efficiency of Union bodies. In particular, a list of services has been determined for the single EEU market: operational from January 1st, 2015. These relate to retail and wholesale trade, alongside hotel, restaurant, construction and agricultural services. Two other adopted documents determine a single pharmaceutical market and market of medications, for launch within the EEU from January 1st, 2016. Moreover, from 2019, a single electricity market will come into being, joined by gas and oil from 2025, when a single financial market is also scheduled.
Documents on Kyrgyzstan’s joining the treaty on the EEU have also now been signed.
Alexander Lukashenko admits that negotiations at the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council session were complex, as is to be expected, considering their range and ambition. He notes, “As a result of open and, frankly, difficult conversation, we’ve tried to find points of coincidence and solutions for the most crucial issues, including those discussed and speculated upon by the media. The presidents tackled 21 issues, including those relating to economics, testifying to intense integration work and the scale of tasks being currently solved.”
The President of Belarus believes that the benefits of the Union are obvious. However, issues relating to free movement of goods are yet to be settled and the principle is yet to be implemented in full. Moreover, Belarus and Russia are yet to enforce the most-favoured-nation principle regarding public procurement contracts from the other state (intended for launch from January 1st, 2012).
From January to September 2014, mutual trade between Customs Union and Single Economic Space member states totalled $42.8bn: 89.5 percent of the volume registered in the same period of 2013. “If we are slow to take vital decisions at this stage, the dynamics of uniting processes may be lost, resulting in a step backwards. Our nations could not forgive this, particularly taking into account our work within the CIS frames; our nations will not tolerate a second CIS,” said the Belarusian leader.
Mr. Lukashenko stresses that any union should work to the benefit of its citizens. “It’s extremely important that each side maintain a wise balance between national priorities and interstate commitments. Together, we should secure the desired effectiveness of the Eurasian Economic Commission. The potential of Eurasian Economic Union member states is huge. Rapprochement will only make us stronger,” believes the President of Belarus. “Advancement towards integration should continue; there is no other path.” Mr. Lukashenko underlines his nation’s readiness to continue mutually equal and beneficial dialogue on all issues and is confident that partners will share the same view.
Following the results of the session, the President of Belarus asked journalists not to invent ‘facts’ or resort to personal slander or insult. “Some media claim that, allegedly, allies have come to Moscow to gain from the situation, by taking something from Russia,” said the Belarusian leader. “First of all, nobody has come here for such a reason; our arrival was agreed with the Head of the Russian state, who initiated the Customs Union as it currently exists. We’ve supported him and will continue to do so. Someone other than Belarus may be willing to take something from Russia by making demands at a difficult time but please don’t put the blame on Belarus.”
By Vasily Kharitonov