MOSCOW, June 22. /TASS/. Economic security should become a priority for the Eurasian Economic Union, Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said on Monday.
Speaking at a meeting with Belarusian counterpart Igor Shunevich, Kolokoltsev said the new Russia-led political and economic bloc should focus on ensuring economic security of its member states. "Forming a common economic space will help increase efficiency of national economies and improve well-being of our citizens in the long run," he said.
The minister noted that lifting restrictions on movement of goods, services, capital and labour across the Eurasian Economic Union also brought new challenges. He emphasised the need to step up efforts to combat smuggling of goods, illegal capital flows and business crimes.
"Considering developments on the Eurasian Economic Union’s external borders, problems of money laundering and financing of terrorism are becoming especially relevant," Kolokoltsev said.
After the meeting, the two ministers signed decisions of the joint collegium of the Russian and Belarusian interior ministries and a plan of action for 2016.
The Eurasian Economic Union, which envisages free movement of goods, services, capital and labour and is based on the Customs Union, started operating in January, replacing the Eurasian Economic Community, which officially ceased to exist last October.
The regional assembly Russia formed together with Kazakhstan and Belarus expanded to four nations on January 2 when Armenia formally joined, a day after the union came into operation. The former Soviet republic of Kyrgyzstan acceded to the bloc in May and Tajikistan is also a prospective member.
Membership is open to other states assessed as sharing the assembly's aims and principles, its founders say.