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Putin urges government to finalise Eurasian Economic Union treaty

April 30, 2014, 16:59 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Russian President Vladimir Putin asks the partners to improve the treaty as quickly as possible

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© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Druzhinin

MOSCOW, April 30. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the country’s government to finalise urgently drafting of a treaty on a Eurasian Economic Union bringing together Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus.

“I would like to ask you together with partners from Belarus and Kazakhstan to finalise it (a draft treaty) as quickly as possible,” the president said at a meeting with members of the government on Wednesday.

Putin said the work done at Tuesday’s meeting of the Eurasian Economic Council in Minsk on April 29 was productive. “We removed all obstacles to the signing of the treaty, albeit not without difficulty. We found compromises and only some technical issues remain to be worked out. I hope this will be done in the very near future,” Putin said at a meeting with government members on Wednesday, April 30.

He noted that some of the reference rules had not been agreed and admitted that “this cannot be done in such a short time”. At the same time, the participants in the meeting agreed issues concerning energy and infrastructure.

The work on the Eurasian Economic Union, which is expected to become operational within the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia from January 1, 2015, was discussed in Minsk on April 29 by Putin, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

They resolved all key disagreements over the treaty which will be submitted to signature in Astana on May 29.

The supranational body, the European Economic Commission, will continue to operate from Moscow. The single financial regulator of the Eurasian Economic Union will be set up in Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, by 2025.

Common markets of oil, petroleum products and gas of the three countries will also start operating no later than 2025, and a common electricity market slightly earlier.

The question of duties on petroleum products will be subject to bilateral regulation pending the creation of a common market.

The Eurasian Economic Commission is a supranational body of the Common Economic Space (prototype of the Eurasian Economic Union) created by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The Common Economic Space has been operating since the start of 2012.

The Commission coordinates integration processes within the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and the Common Economic Space.

The common goal of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is to move on to a higher level of cooperation, which should be facilitated by the new union, Putin said at a summit of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on Wednesday, March 5.

The institutional part of the agreement should determine the legal status and organisational framework of the union, and lay down the main principles of its work.

Putin stressed the need to guarantee “four freedoms”: free movement of goods, services, capital and labour among the member states. “It is important to set forth concrete obligations to eliminate exclusions and limitations remaining in the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space,” Putin said.

He believes that the European Economic Union needs to be granted broad powers in the field of economic regulation. “This will allow (us) to carry out a common and coordinated policy in key industries, raise the sustainability and development potential of the national economies, create a large common market and bring in additional investments,” the head of state said.

Putin noted that integration was already paying off. “Despite the overall economic slowdown in the world, trade turnover between the three countries in 2013 did not decrease but on the contrary grew to 64.1 billion US dollars,” he said.

The structure of mutual trade improved: the share of resources decreased while the share of goods with a high added value increased. Putin recalled that entrepreneurs were actively engaged in this work and co-authored many decisions.

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