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MOSCOW, December 20 (Itar-Tass) — President Dmitry Medvedev and his counterparts from Belarus and Kazakhstan – Alexander Lukashenko and Nursultan Nazarbayev – signed a package of documents in the Kremlin on Monday on putting into effect the treaties on the creation of Common Economic Space (CES). Viktor Khristenko, who is still Russian Minister of Industry and Trade, was appointed president of the Eurasian Economic Commission, which will control integration in the CES format.
The Supreme Eurasian Economic Council came to replace the supreme steering body of the Customs Union, but this time in the framework of EurAsEC, Novye Izvestia writes. It will help create conditions for a free movement of goods, services and manpower. The tripartite summit actually transferred to the practical sphere the decisions, which the three presidents made public in Moscow last November. They signed that time the treaty on the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), which would handle integration in the CES format. Khristenko was presented on Monday as head of the EEC collegium. After the new appointment he will resign from the post of minister in the Russian government.
The Customs Union, which rallies Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, will start functioning on January 1, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes. This will create problems for the CIS member countries, which did not join it: the zone of a free movement of people and goods, of which many CIS countries dreamed for 20 years, will be opened only for the Customs Union goods in a short-term perspective, and in a long-term perspective – only for Customs Union people.
Putin warned Kiev well in advance that now Ukrainian goods would be stopped on the Russian border, which will become the border of the Customs Union. He added, however, that the neighbor country was free to join the Customs Union. Moscow promises in this case to deliver gas to Ukraine at the price, equal to that used in gas deliveries to Belarus. Everything would be much easier in that case, at least in the sphere of trade. Kiev, however, continues to believe that the Customs Union is a good thing, but the European Economic Space is better.
According to President Medvedev, EEC, to be headed by Khristenko, is the first supranational body in the history of the three counties, Komsomolskaya Pravda writes. “The decision-making mechanism rules out a possibility of the domination of any of the three counties,” Medvedev said. According to his information, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will take into consideration in their integration the best and the worst of the world experience, including the experience of the European Union.