Belarus’ EAEU Presidency Priorities

On 1 January 2020, the Republic of Belarus assumed the presidency in the EAEU bodies (the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council, the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC)). In accordance with the rotation principle, Belarus’ representative will head the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission (supranational executive body) during the period from 1 February 2020 to 31 January 2024.

It gives Belarus an opportunity to promote its agenda and its vision on the priorities of economic integration in the EAEU more vigorously.
Belarus’ EAEU Presidency Priorities

Having an export-oriented economy, Belarus is extremely interested in the free movement of goods and services in the EAEU and boosting its foreign trade.

The agenda of the Belarus presidency is set out in the Address of Chairman of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, Aleksandr Lukashenko, President of Belarus.

Belarus calls on the EAEU partners to prioritize freedom of movement of goods and services in the markets of the EAEU member states and equal competitive conditions in cross-border markets. Along with optimizing the powers of supranational institutions, this will require the gradual development of the coordinated policies (energy, transport) and uniform policies (industrial, agricultural) in the EAEU.

In terms of ensuring equal conditions of competition, the application of non-discriminatory approaches to the formation of energy prices and transportation tariffs is of crucial importance.

It is necessary to eliminate distortions in the systems of technical regulation, sanitary, veterinary and phytosanitary measures that lead to technical barriers in the internal markets of the Eurasian Economic Union.

Work to increase foreign trade of the EAEU member states will be continued through the conclusion of new free trade agreements between the EAEU and third countries. Such negotiations are already under way with India, Israel and Egypt. A list of countries with which such negotiations will start in the future will be determined in 2020.

The efficiency of the Union will depend on the introduction of mechanisms ensuring the unconditional implementation of decisions of the EAEU bodies aimed at removing barriers in the EAEU domestic market.

The supranational competences of the Eurasian Economic Commission will need to be strengthened, first of all, in the areas with the greatest number of restrictions and exemptions (technical regulations, sanitary, veterinary and phytosanitary measures, public procurement, subsidies).

The EAEU member states should address the issues of unilateral restrictions. A solution would be to oblige the EAEU members to get an EAEU permission to be able to impose such restrictions. It would be also advisable to oblige the EAEU member states to submit draft national laws and regulations to the EEC Board for the EAEU law compliance review.

It is important to achieve unity in the application of instruments of state control over the movement of goods in the countries of the Union (product identification labelling, product traceability). The application of these instruments should not create new technical barriers in the markets or increase unjustifiably the fiscal and administrative burden on businesses.

The control and supervisory bodies of the member states will continue working on coordinating the approaches to guarantee the safety of products circulating in the EAEU market, to develop effective market mechanisms for the protection of the EAEU market from counterfeit products and harmonize the intellectual property protection measures.

Work to create legal, economic and technological conditions for setting up common markets of electricity, gas, oil and petroleum products in the EAEU will be continued as part of the programs to develop these markets. At the same time, a two-tier model will remain in place (with national markets functioning alongside common energy markets).

Gradual liberalization of freight and passenger traffic in the EAEU domestic market will be a significant step towards closer integration and more robust economies of the EAEU members states. So will the formation of a coordinated transport policy on transit traffic through the territory of the EAEU member states from/to third countries.

A common financial market will be developed through the harmonization of financial legislation with an aim to create equal conditions for suppliers and consumers of financial services throughout the territory of the Union. The priority is the creation of a uniform payment infrastructure to carry out cross-border payments in the national currencies of the EAEU countries and mutual conversion of national currencies.

The EAEU member states will continue cooperating on the digital agenda. The legal and institutional frameworks regulating the development of the digital society and digital economy will be approximated within the framework of the strategy for the development of the cross-border space of trust and the EAEU digital agenda guidelines until 2025.

As for the international cooperation, Belarus, holding the EAEU presidency, remains committed to the idea of integration of integrations, alignment and harmonization of the interests of the existing integration associations across Eurasia.