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Russia-Belarus Union State most advanced post-Soviet integration bloc — Lukashenko

October 17, 2014, 13:13 UTC+3 MINSK

Experience of the Russia-Belarus Union State should be used in establishing the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU)

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Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko

© Mikhail Metze/TASS

MINSK, October 17. /TASS/. The Russia-Belarus Union State is the most advanced post-Soviet integration bloc whose experience should be used in establishing the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said on Friday.

“Today we’re on the threshold of implementing the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union but we should also not forget about the Union State of Russia and Belarus,” Lukashenko said.

The Union State has achieved profound integration, which cannot yet be seen in the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, the common economic space of the three ex-Soviet republics or even in the Eurasian Economic Union, which will start operating from January 1 next year, the Belarusian president said.

The Russia-Belarus Union State is “a unique integration bloc” in the post-Soviet space, Lukashenko said.

According to the Belorussian president, the use of a common currency within the Russia-Belarus Union State is a viable idea but should be implemented on an equitable basis. Lukashenko said it should be an independent currency, like the euro, and a money issuance center should be created on equitable terms.

Lukashenko noted that he saw a lapse from the Customs Union principles in the agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

“I’ve already said, signing the EEU agreement that it has a smaller degree of integration. We made a concession, making allowances for the situation - not through the fault of Belarus,” Lukashenko said.

According to him, Belarus had warned its partners about the departure from the Customs Union level. “But if we agree to this [EEU creation], we should have the free movement of goods, services, people, capital,” the president said.

Lukashenko also said that “when this process [for EEU establishment] emerged and all talked of the need to preserve the Union State, Minsk asked not to hurry.”

“Let’s liquidate, if somebody wants it, the Union State when the Customs Union or the Eurasian Economic Union reach the Union State level. We haven’t accomplished even half of it,” said the Belarusian president.

“We have made a huge step with Russia and Kazakhstan as our partners in Eurasian integration but we’re still at the beginning of a long road,” Lukashenko said.

It is important to ensure that all accords within the Eurasian Economic Union should be strictly fulfilled, Lukashenko said.

“Otherwise, we may both lose confidence within our union and reduce its attractiveness in the eyes of candidates for joining the EEU,” the Belarusian president said.

Eurasian Economic Union Treaty

The Treaty on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union was signed by the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on May 29, 2014 in Astana.

The agreement is the basic document defining the accords between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan for creating the Eurasian Economic Union for the free movement of goods, services, capital and workforce and conducting coordinated policies in key sectors of the economy, such as energy, industry, agriculture and transport.

The agreement stipulates the transition of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to the next stage of integration after the Customs Union and the common economic space.

The EEU members are currently Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia. Kyrgyzstan is expected to join the union soon.

The Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union stipulates customs and technical regulation, foreign trade policies and measures to protect the internal market. The agreement envisages the transition to common customs tariffs.

The agreement also stipulates the principles of coordinated macro-economic and foreign exchange policies, financial market regulation, interaction in the energy and transport sectors, the development of a common gas, oil, petroleum product, medicines and medical equipment market.

The Treaty’s provisions cover such areas as intellectual property and state purchases, industry, agriculture and labor migration. The document also regulates information interaction within the union.

The document says that the union is open for accession by any state sharing the union’s goals and principles on the terms agreed by the member countries.

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