MOSCOW, December 23. /TASS/. The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) is open for cooperation with other international structures, including the European Union, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said Tuesday after a meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.
“Our economic union is also open for mutually beneficial cooperation with all integration associations of the world, including the European Union,” Nazarbayev told journalists.
At the same time, he said, EEU members should make it an attractive model of economic partnership for other states so that the number of participants of that integration association could be expanded. In this connection, he also noted that the adopted interstate documents on establishment of the EEU “take into account the national interests and economic capabilities of each of our countries.”
Nazarbayev also said the year 2015 will go down in history as the start of a new stage of Eurasian integration.
“For the first time in the history of vast Eurasian expanses, an economic association is established on a voluntary, equal and mutually beneficial basis, with a powerful natural and resource potential, transport, power and technology systems strategically important on the global and regional scale,” he said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday after the summit of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council that the EEU is open for other countries.
“The EEU is open for work with all our neighbors, in the framework of the CIS, open for our partners in the east and west,” Putin said, adding that the treaty on Kyrgyzstan’s accession to the EEU was signed at the meeting.
The Russian president said the participation of Armenia that signed such a treaty earlier and Kyrgyzstan in the EEU will contribute to the countries’ development.
“The growth of the number of participants is for the good of the Union itself as well: it increases the size of its market, contributes to the strengthening of trade and economic ties, the launch of new investment projects,” he said.
The new integration association - the Eurasian Economic Union - will start operating on January 1, 2015. Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia make part of the EEU. Today’s meeting of the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh presidents was the final one in the process to establish the EEU.
Thus, the largest association with a consumer market of over 170 million people will start operating in a few days on the post-Soviet space. It will function on the basis of the World Trade Organization’s norms and principles and will ensure freedom of movement of goods, services, capitals and labor force.
Kyrgyzstan will join the EEU on May 1, 2015. Armenia, which has ratified all required documents, will become a full-fledged member from January 2.
The EEU will replace the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC). Putin and his counterparts from Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan met in Belarusian capital Minsk on October 10 to sign documents to eliminate EurAsEC. The EurAsEC secretariat will continue to operate until the end of this year.
EurAsEC has operated for more than 14 years. The treaty to establish it was signed on October 10, 2000. In August 2006, EurAsEC countries made the decision to establish a Customs Union with a common customs tariff for all member states. On November 27, 2009 the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan decided to shift to a deeper form of economic integration, the Common Economic Space, as of 2012.
The next step along the same lines was taken when on May 29, 2014 the presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus signed a treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union.