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Lavrov: Eurasian Economic Union has potential for expansion

December 16, 2015, 21:01 UTC+3 MOSCOW
According to the Russian top diplomat, all those who accuse Russia and its partners of attempts to recreate something imperial ignore the fact that integration became the call of the times everywhere
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Eurasian Economic Commission Collegium chairman Viktor Khristenko, Armenia's prime minister Hovik Abrahamyan, Belarus' prime minister Andrei Kobyakov, Kazakhstan's prime minister Karim Massimov, Russia's prime minister Dmitry Medvedev and Kyrgyzstan prime minister Djoomart Otorbaev (L-R) pose for a group photograph ahead of a meeting of the Intergovernmental Council of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) at Gorki residence

Eurasian Economic Commission Collegium chairman Viktor Khristenko, Armenia's prime minister Hovik Abrahamyan, Belarus' prime minister Andrei Kobyakov, Kazakhstan's prime minister Karim Massimov, Russia's prime minister Dmitry Medvedev and Kyrgyzstan prime minister Djoomart Otorbaev (L-R) pose for a group photograph ahead of a meeting of the Intergovernmental Council of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) at Gorki residence

© Alexander Astafyev/Russian government's press service/TASS

MOSCOW, December 16. /TASS/. The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) is a rather attractive integration association and has potential for expansion, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview for the documentary Number One devoted to Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The new integration association — the EAEU — started operating on January 1, 2015. Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan 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.

"The efforts of the presidents of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus have played a great part [in establishment of the EAEU]," Lavrov said. "The fact that this result was positive is confirmed by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan joining the Union. I am convinced this is far from the complete composition of EAEU members."

"This was very hard work that started from the establishment of the Customs Union and ended with formation of the Common Economic Space and the EAEU," the minister said.

"It was difficult to agree thousands and thousands of positions regulating joint tariffs, customs procedures, positions ensuring the maximally open market and removing most barriers for movement of goods, services, capitals, workforce and people in general. Nevertheless, such work was completed," he said.

Lavrov recalled that the EAEU has been operating since January 1, 2015. He said the establishment of the integration association was the result of "very tense and serious work based upon the objective circumstance that the former USSR was a single economic complex."

"After sovereignization of the former Soviet republics, when the Soviet Union ceased to exist, Belarus, Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation were probably more than others ready, in conditions of the market economy, to maximally use the advantages of the single economic complex that remained in the form of economic ties, single infrastructure and many other components of economic life," the Russian foreign minister said.

Integration the call of times, but it should be conducted openly

"They accuse us that it’s Russia’s attempt to recreate either the empire or the Soviet Union," Lavrov went on to say.

"But these are all useless statements, because if a serious researcher took the trouble of just looking for it in the internet or other information sources, it would become known that in 1994 Nursultan Nazarbayev, reading a lecture in the Lomonosov Moscow State University, first put forward the idea to promote Eurasian economic integration and consecutively defended it," he said.

"And he did it not just from the positions of 1994 but each time, at each stage of its promotion, he took into account the new things that are taking place in the global economy, finances and integration processes," Lavrov said.

"All those who accuse us and our partners of attempts to recreate something imperial on the post-Soviet space probably deliberately ignore the fact that integration became the call of the times everywhere, on a global scale," he said. "All continents have been seized by integration processes."

The top Russian diplomat said "the processes should be open, as we have done in the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union [EAEU], and not secret and behind-the-scenes when a ‘club of the elect’ is established, which is closed for all the others, like our American colleagues do on the Pacific and Atlantic spaces — jointly with the EU."

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