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Customs Union, CES to help CIS states integrate with Europe: Putin

October 04, 2011, 1:12 UTC+3

“We are not going to cut ourselves off from anyone or stand against anyone,” Russian Prime Minister stressed

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MOSCOW, October 4 (Itar-Tass) — Participation of CIS countries in the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space is not at variance with their European vector, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told the Izvestia newspaper on Tuesday.

Moreover, it will help them quicker integrate with Europe, the prime minister said in the article “New Integration Project for Eurasia – Future That is Being Born Today”.

“Some of our neighbours explain their unwillingness to participate in integration processes in the post-Soviet space, saying that this is allegedly at variance with their European choice,” the prime minister said, adding that it is erroneous.

“We are not going to cut ourselves off from anyone or stand against anyone,” he stressed. According to Putin, “the Eurasian Union will be built on universal integration principles as an inalienable part of Greater Europe, united by common values of freedom, democracy and market laws”.

Putin reminded the readers that “back in 2003, Russia and the European Union agreed on the formation of a common economic space, coordination of rules of economic activity without setting up supra-national structures”.

Developing this idea, “we offered Europeans to think together about setting up a harmonious community of economies from Lisbon to Vladivostok, about a zone of free trade and even more advanced forms of integration, about the development of coordinated policy in the sphere of industry, technologies, power engineering, education and science, and finally about the removal of visa barriers,” the prime minister stressed.

“These offers did not hang in the air – they are discussed in detail by European colleagues,” he added. Moreover, the prime minister is confident that participation in integration processes in the post-Soviet space will let the countries quicker integrate with the European Union.

“Apart from direct economic advantages, the entry into the Eurasian Union will let any of its participants integrate into Europe quicker and on stronger positions,” he explained.

“Besides, the economically logical and balanced system of partnership of the Eurasian Union and the European Union can create real conditions for changing the geopolitical and geo-economic configuration of the whole continent, and it would have an unquestionable positive global effect,” he believes.

However, Russia will not be imposing participation in these projects on its neighbours. “We are not going to hurry or push anyone,” he said. “This must be a sovereign decision of the state, dictated by its own long-term national interests,” Putin stressed.


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