Meeting with EAEU heads of government

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It is essential to step up efforts to overcome obstacles on the internal market of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with the EAEU heads of government on 27 November.

The head of state remarked that four years had passed since the adoption of the EAEU Treaty which was meant to lift all barriers in the movement of goods, services, capitals and workforce, formation of common markets within ten years.

“Honestly speaking, we haven’t done everything and now we are facing difficulties. Major problems are known. Therefore, I would you to discuss them in detail once again and make balanced decisions to establish a full-fledged economic union. This is especially important today and we do not have time to relax, we need to go forward having in mind the situation on international trade markets. First of all, it is essential to step up efforts to overcome obstacles on the internal market,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. “The main thing is that we know in what direction to move, we have knowledge and experience. But we are solving these issues very slowly, while all barriers should be eliminated.”

According to the President, in certain areas new barriers replace old ones. For example, a two-year period of exemptions from the national regime of public procurement which was introduced by the EAEU Treaty as an exceptional measure is coming to an end. And these exemptions are reinstated for the next two-year period, the head of state remarked.

“A logical question arises: do we want to create a single economic space or use legal loopholes for national protectionism? We must clearly understand that the union will be of value for our economies and external partners only if it becomes a predictable organization which is living by our rules,” the Belarusian leader said.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the creating of common energy markets is a key element. The Belarusian sides does not understand why all sides acknowledge the necessity of common railway transportation tariffs and at the same time do not agreed with a symmetrical approach in gas transportation.

“Economic operators expect that in ten days time the heads of state will finally sign the programs to create common markets of gas, oil and oil products at the meeting in Saint Petersburg. We agreed on it. Thus we will make a step towards building a stable basis of fuel and raw materials in the union. But for this purpose we need to solve remaining issues in Minsk today,” the President said.

The digital agenda becomes a more and more important aspect of joint work in the EAEU, the head of state said. The countries have a good theoretical and legal framework. Today the main task is to determine major digital solutions which can facilitate transboundary and inter-industry cooperation. “Minsk is prepared to take an active part in the implementation of these proposals,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

He stressed that the Eurasian Economic Commission should play a more active role in the resolution of these issues. The commission has already asked to expand its powers several times. “I personally support it. But we must understand that broader powers mean more responsibility,” the Belarusian leader said.

The President expressed gratitude to Russia which presides in the union for the efforts to promote integration and include new avenues of cooperation in the integration agenda.

“By the way, we still need to address such crucial topics as ecology, renewable energy which is vigorously developing now, space exploration, medicine, sport and tourism in our treaty. Cooperation in these fields will make an additional contribution to the development of our union. At the same time, the expansion of the agenda should be considered well and should not impede the resolution of the current tasks in the Eurasian Economic Union. Therefore, we expect balanced proposals from the governments in this regard,” Aleksandr Lukashenko concluded.