MOSCOW, November 18 (Itar-Tass) —— The presidents of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan will meet in Moscow on Friday to sign a declaration on Eurasian economic integration based on the principles of the World Trade Organization which Russia is expected to join shortly after 18 years of negotiations.
President Dmitry Medvedev, Alexander Lukashenko, and Nursultan Nazarbayev are to declare the transition to a new stage of integration – common economic space based on the norms and principles of the World Trade Organization and open at any stage for the admission of other nations, a Kremlin official said.
The three countries are currently united in the Customs Union and the declaration will proclaim the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union as the final integration aim.
The idea of the Eurasian Union was first voiced by Nazarbayev several years ago, but this year Prime Minister Vladimir Putin also advanced it as a bridge uniting Europe and Asia and suggested Tajikistan and Kirgizia may join it at the initial stage.
“The upcoming meeting is an important step in promoting the process of Eurasian economic integration,” the Kremlin official said.
He recalled the documents on the Common Economic Space will come into force on January 1, 2012 and said “it is an extremely important project for the peoples of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Belarus which reflects general objective trend towards further integration on the post-Soviet space.”
The three presidents will consider the creation of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), a new integration body which is to begin operating from January 1, 2012 and govern integration in the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space.
“For the first time in post-Soviet history the Commission is to become a supranational body which is neutral to member-countries and which will gradually take over national powers,” the Kremlin official said adding the EEC decision-making mechanism rules out the supremacy of any country.
The EEC will be a two-level body with the Commission Council uniting deputy prime ministers and the Commission Collegium, a working body to which member-countries will delegate their representatives in the capacity of international independent officials.
The supreme EEC body is the Eurasian Economic Council at the level of heads of state and government. Upon its decisions the EEC may enjoy the right to sign international agreements and set up missions in third countries as well as at international institutions.
The three former Soviet republics lifted customs borders between them on July 1 and created a common customs space. “The Customs Union is operating in full volume and work is ongoing to streamline its mechanisms and adopt the legal base,” the official said.
“The efficiency of the Customs Union creation is evident already today as only in the first half of the year the overall trade turnover of the three countries increased 40 percent,” the official said.