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MOSCOW, December 31. /TASS/. Russia sees the long-term goal of cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the European Union (EU) in creating a free trade zone that is expected to serve as the basis of a common economic space from the Atlantic to the Pacific, Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Vasily Nebenzya told TASS in an interview.
“This strategic initiative is designed to ensure harmonious development of all countries in the region, both affiliated and not affiliated with various integration associations,” he said.
At the same time Nebenzya acknowledged that the existing realities by no means allowed for implementing such plans, although “the idea of establishing contacts between the EU and the EEU has drawn an ever greater response from the European Union.”
“We welcome the latest statements by a number of European politicians to the effect they welcome the idea of a direct dialogue between the EU and the EEU,” he said.
“For a start, it would be expedient to establish working contacts at the level of experts of the Eurasian Economic Commission and the European Commission,” Nebenzya believes. “That would facilitate the settlement of outstanding trading and economic problems, contribute to a better understanding of the concerns over the association agreements within the EU’s Eastern Partnership program, including that with Ukraine. Cooperation between the EEU and the European Commission, including the adjustment of technical control systems and reduction of non-tariff barriers might bring about favorable prerequisites for a future start of free trade zone negotiations between the EEU and the EU," he said.
Nebenzya recalled that Moscow in early December hosted a meeting of the Eurasian Economic Commission representatives with an EU delegation and the European partners “displayed interest in identifying a format and means of cooperation at the given stage.”
“A meaningful discussion is required over the prospects for establishing cooperation between the EEU and the EU,” he added. “In any case, it would be politically short-sighted of the European Union to ignore the new Eurasian reality.”