By Vladimir Khromov
Mr. Lukashenko believes it’s absolutely incorrect to view integration within the frames of the Customs Union of the three states as a revival of the USSR. According to him, the leaders of the three states regret the dissolution of the Soviet Union but realise that there is no turning back.
“We are absolutely different now. The global environment is completely different. We need to move forward, creating integration unions, because the entire world is doing it. We are outpaced by other countries where this integration is proceeding faster. We lag behind them in terms of integration,” the President of Belarus said.
According to Mr. Lukashenko, the issue of introducing a single currency in the Single Economic Space of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia isn’t on the agenda nowadays.
“Someone asks about the introduction of the single currency today. We have not come to it yet. We have not felt the burning need for it yet. The issue is not on today’s agenda, and there is no need to push it there artificially,” the President underlined.
“Some politicians, especially in Russia, plan for something which is irrelevant today. For instance, they are talking about political unification at a time when we have been building an economic union,” noted the Head of State. “Some are used to pushing such issues — like shifting to the single currency tomorrow. We are not discussing it. We have not come to such a necessity, and we are not ready for it.”
According to Mr. Lukashenko, there is also talk about the development of a new political structure. The Belarusian Head of State noted that there would be no supra-national structures which go contrary with the interests of any of the troika member states.
“Let us do what we need to do today, what our people need, and what is good for the people and the state. The country’s political independence, sovereignty and stability should remain a priority for us,” the President of Belarus stressed.
The President also believes that the interests of the participants shouldn’t be infringed in any way during the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union.
“Together with Russia and Kazakhstan, we should play a very important role in the formation of the Eurasian Economic Union in the future, in forming a union that will benefit everyone. We should not put pressure on each other, rather we should think about what we can do today. The Eurasian Economic Union is an association we can really build today without aiming for some grand goals in the future,” underlined the Belarusian Head of State.
Mr. Lukashenko doesn’t doubt that the Eurasian Economic Union will be profitable for all member states. “It will create a huge market, around 170 million citizens. Thanks to the domestic market it will be possible to avoid certain cataclysms which happen in the global economy. The fact that we will enjoy freedom of travel, capital flow, workforce and commodity flow is a good thing. We will get equal business operations terms, which is very important for the economy.”
The Belarusian Head of State reminded that about 20 basic agreements work to form the Single Economic Space — a new integration stage after the Customs Union. Moreover, dynamic work is in progress to set up the Eurasian Economic Union.
“Yes, there can be some dissatisfaction in the course of the establishment of the Single Economic Space and in the future of the Eurasian Economic Union. But it is very good that we still have a year to prepare major documents concerning the Eurasian Economic Union. Because if we underperformed somewhere, we will disrupt the launch of the Union’s operation,” Mr. Lukashenko said. “Because everything that Belarus, Kazakhstan, and particularly Russia have promised, and let’s be honest, it is the central player in this space, has to be implemented,” he added.