GENEVA, April 14. /TASS/. Russia is ready to move toward a common economic space with the European Union, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov said Tuesday in Geneva at the opening of the 66th session of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe.
Gatilov said the first step on that road "could be talks on establishment of a free trade zone between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union [EAEU]." He said the idea "was voiced by Russia back in January 2014 at a Russia-EU summit."
Moscow proceeds from the fact that "all other interested states and formats, including the European Free Trade Association and the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States, a loose association of former Soviet republics] will also be participants of the project of a common economic space, which will be based on WTO rules."
The deputy foreign minister stressed that qualitatively new prerequisites for a region-wide economic space are being formed in the region. The EAEU is "open for interaction with all interested states and other regional integration groupings."
"We should realize the one and undivided responsibility for the fates of European peoples and the fact that an equal model of interstate economic interaction based on open political dialogue and fair account of each other’s interests has no alternative," Gatilov said.
The UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) was established in 1947 to develop economic activity and strengthen ties between regional countries. During the current session, great attention will be paid to problems of ensuring sustainable development in conditions of changes occurring in Europe and worldwide.
The new integration association — the EAEU — started operating on January 1, 2015. Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia make part of the EAEU. The Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh presidents held the final meeting in late December 2014 in the process to establish the EAEU.