Posted: 27.12.2023 15:39:00

‘The EAEU should become one of the global poles of economic attraction’

In the last week of the outgoing year, the President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, took part in two large international events in St. Petersburg: a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council and an informal meeting of CIS leaders

Before the summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin warmly greeted the President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko Pavel Bednyakov/TASS

During the EAEU summit, the Presidents of Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia discussed more than two dozen issues, including key areas for the further development of integration processes. Aleksandr Lukashenko called the current meeting of the leaders of the member states of the union to a certain extent significant. Next year the EAEU will celebrate its tenth anniversary. The EAEU has already proven its effectiveness, our enemies have not been able to separate us, and the participating countries must now, without losing momentum, reach a higher level of development. The President spoke about this in an interview with journalists. In particular, he answered the question about the prospects of the EAEU as follows, 
“Very good. Better than other associations. There is more politics, and here there is more economics. Just what we need. And any political issue can be threaded onto an economic skewer. We are the most advanced. Neither the SCO nor the BRICS have such close ties, they do not speak the same language, like the rest of us, without translators. In addition, most importantly, the economy does not have this single economic space... Amid the development of a new highly competitive geopolitical environment, we would like to see the Eurasian Economic Union, if not by 2030 then by 2045, as one of the main global poles of economic attraction.”
The President Vladimir Putin, as host, greeted his guests one by one at the Boris Yeltsin Presidential Library, where the summit took place. Media representatives were looking forward to the arrival of the Belarusian leader with special impatience: they prepared a lot of questions, hoping that the President of Belarus, as always, would not pass by. An impromptu press conference of the Head of State took place right on the porch of the Presidential Library building. What did journalists ask Aleksandr Lukashenko about?

On the prospects for Armenia’s participation in the EAEU

The main question was in the air long before the start of the summit and had a certain intrigue: whether Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan would take part in the meeting. After all, Yerevan has recently distanced itself somewhat from its allies. Nikol Pashinyan refused to participate in the November CSTO summit in Minsk, and in October he missed the CIS summit in Bishkek. Until recently, it was unclear whether he would come to St. Petersburg. Hence, the interest of journalists: isn’t it a shame for the Belarusian leader that the Prime Minister of Armenia flew to the EAEU summit in St. Petersburg, but did not come to the CSTO summit in Minsk.
“Why?! These are different formats. He said, ‘This is a different format, an economic one. We are upset with the military-political CSTO’. That’s why I knew that he would fly to St. Petersburg. I supported him in this then, and I support him now,” Aleksandr Lukashenko was sincerely surprised by the question.
“Won’t we lose Armenia as our friend?” the reporters continued.
“If Armenia wants to ‘die’ economically, then we can lose it. But I don’t think Armenians are stupid people. They are smart people. So no, I don’t even worry about it. I am sure that Armenia is not going anywhere. What, she didn’t see how people fell in Afghanistan — they clung to the chassis. Remember when the Americans left? They will use Armenia In the same way and leave them behind…”

On tactical nuclear weapons

The Head of State commented on the question of whether all planned Russian nuclear weapons were delivered to Belarus, “It was delivered a long time. I talked about it when the delivery was completed. Back in September, I think, or in October. Everything is in its place and in good condition.
When asked when the next military exercises will be, the President noted, “We are learning something new every day. Even the former Wagner fighters who have stayed with us are now working in our units, passing on their experience.”

On the prospects for resolving the conflict in Ukraine

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that in the coming year there is a chance to make progress on this issue, “I think it’s the best chance. We will work with them more closely so that they understand that this is the only chance. If they do not use it, they will face a collapse… Politicians are beginning to understand. The military are putting pressure. As I have always said, the military see what is happening. The pressure is already very strong. You probably noticed from Zelensky’s press conference that he is beginning to understand too.”

About the EAEU as a centre of attraction

According to the President, the military operation in Ukraine taught us a lot and pushes us to move further in terms of integration, “But we froze. We need to move, the base is solid. No organisation has such a base.”
The Head of State gave a specific example of the SCO, which is a powerful organisation and a good platform for bilateral negotiations. In particular, Belarus strives to gain full membership in it. Nevertheless, the policies of many major SCO participants are different.
“India and China have different policies. There is more unity in the EAEU. We need to work further in this respect. We will be a centre of attraction then,” said the President.
The President continued the theme of economic attraction at the summit, noting that the EAEU has much more opportunities, since the SCO and BRICS have not advanced as much in the economy as our union, 
“And the main thing for us now is not to lose momentum! We need to move in this direction so that we are a leading not only regional, but also global economic organisation... Amid the development of a new highly competitive geopolitical environment, we would like to see the Eurasian Economic Union, if not by 2030 then by 2045, as one of the main global poles of economic attraction.”
The President of Belarus also spoke about opportunities in the EAEU in his speech at the summit. The main achievement of the Eurasian Economic Union over almost ten years of its existence was the stable functioning of the common internal market and the common customs space. Over the last seven years, the EAEU’s trade with foreign partners has increased by more than $340 billion in absolute terms. Mutual trade has doubled to exceed $85 billion. This year Belarus’ trade with Russia will reach some $50 billion. The EAEU countries hold second place in the world in oil and gas production and production of mineral fertilizers, third in the production of wheat, potatoes, and livestock products, and fourth in coal production.
Aleksandr Lukashenko again emphasised the relevance of the further movement of the EAEU member states in the wake of the ‘integration of integrations’ initiative, “It is worth working more actively on the development of the institution of an observer state in the union, making more efforts towards the real integration of the integration potentials of the EAEU, SCO, BRICS. It is necessary to take advantage of participation in such dynamically developing associations with Russia, which works in them as one of the key founding countries. We will fully support the Russian Federation in this important collective work.”

During an informal meeting of the CIS leaders belta

Main results of the summit 

► The Heads of State approved the Declaration on the Further Development of the Eurasian Economic Union until 2030 and for the Period Until 2045.
► One of the decisions concerns the creation of a new legal institution in the field of customs regulation — an e-commerce operator that will provide logistics and customs clearance of transactions with goods purchased by individuals via the Internet. 
► An agreement on a free trade zone was signed between the EAEU countries and Iran. It will significantly increase the competitiveness of goods from EAEU member states and thereby increase exports to Iran. It is expected that overall trade turnover will more than double, and cooperation and investment cooperation will also intensify.

The President of Belarus held a bilateral meeting with the President of Azerbaijan in St. Petersburg

As known, a telephone conversation took place between Aleksandr Lukashenko and Ilham Aliyev on December 24th. Then the Head of the Belarusian State warmly congratulated his Azerbaijani colleague on his birthday. The Presidents discussed the main issues of development of bilateral relations, the situation in the region and the topic of joint work within the framework of multilateral platforms.
The current meeting in St. Petersburg was a development of what was discussed in the telephone conversation. The agenda is purely work-related. “We are waiting in Azerbaijan!” Ilham Aliyev invited the Belarusian leader.

Based on materials of and