Meeting with heads of government delegations of EEU, CIS member states

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By choosing Belarus to host the meetings of the heads of government of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the member states expressed their recognition of the country’s active integration policy, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he met with the heads of the government delegations of the EEU and the CIS member states in Minsk on 28 October.

“We view this choice as a manifestation of respect for Belarus and recognition of our active integration policy,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The world is facing an increasing political and economic turbulence. “In our countries, we have seen a growth in well-grounded criticism of and dissatisfaction with the pace and practical results of the integration processes. Businesses send us alarming signals. To be frank, Belarus is concerned about a critical number of pending issues regarding the future of both the CIS and the EEU,” the Belarusian leader said.

The head of state noted that the countries have set clear timeframes for the implementation of the agreements. “If we fail to comply with the agreement that we achieved through hard work, the union will have no future. These decisions need to be implemented, no matter how hard it can be. “For the time being the situation is not very encouraging. In many areas there are significant delays. Often we are just not making headway. A typical example is the elimination of exemptions, barriers and restrictions to trade, of which there are several hundreds,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the EEU countries should pursue a coherent industrial policy. “The only way to turn the EEU into a center of economic power is to develop advanced production facilities based on cooperation. In theory, this idea is supported by all. But there is no practical implementation,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.  “There is also a need to think over the issues regarding the functioning of the EEU at a time when one of its member states is applying the unilateral measures of protection against third countries. “We need a clear mechanism for cooperation in such situations, primarily to ensure that problems are not created out of thin air between members of the union.”

“We do not agree with certain timeframes for the creation of the common gas and oil market and for the liberalization of the procedure for freight carriers from one country that handle transportation between two points located in another country,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The President said he is against red tape in updating the provisions of the EEU Treaty. “It is important to use this opportunity to address the most complex issues of the integration. The lack of coordination has already disturbed the balance of inner integration processes. We have realized that we need to update the Treaty, to discard the things that did not work out. We need to improve it, we need to conduct a complete revision.”

When taking on new challenges, it is necessary to think over the long-standing issues which the EEU member states have failed to solve so far. Only continuity, coherence and consistency in the work can create the necessary preconditions for accelerated progress towards the goals that we set for the union. “Belarus’ approach is transparent: since we have made this decision to build the Eurasian Economic Union, we must be consistent and move firmly ahead as we agreed. Otherwise integration ideas will not be taken seriously either by our people or outside the union,” the President noted.

Consideration was also given to the CIS. “In Bishkek in September we specifically addressed the issues of adjusting the CIS to modern conditions. Belarus has always advocated the preservation of the CIS as a full-fledged international organization aimed at promoting regional integration. I am pleased to note that this approach was supported by all the heads of the CIS member states and was reflected in the resolution to adjust the CIS,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko paid special attention to the activities of the sectoral cooperation bodies that should be well-systematized and target-specific. “Some of the bodies have been operating for decades without making contribution to the development of the Commonwealth. And it is exactly at this level that experts work to create specific content for political decisions. The results of their work shape the vision of the benefits of the CIS for individuals, organizations, enterprises and countries,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko is convinced that ambitious goals are needed: “We need common points of growth based on the principles of cooperation in industry, investment and science.” The head of state said: “Our scientists view cooperation in researching and using outer space for peaceful purposes as a factor conducive to the development of scientific, technical, and innovative cooperation. Such cooperation could rely on a major joint space exploration project to be implemented by pooling resources of the CIS states for the sake of producing tangible scientific, practical, and economic results.”

Providing the domestic markets with strategic raw materials, including energy resources, is an important area of cooperation. “It is necessary to update and mutually adjust the national energy programs of our countries. We need cooperation in power engineering. We need to introduce new technologies and increase the share of alternative energy resources,” said the President. “Continuing cooperation in food security is important. It is necessary to take joint steps to bolster the competitive ability of our agribusiness industries on foreign markets and resolve problems with domestic food trade.”

According to the head of state, it is necessary to harmonize requirements for the safety and quality of agricultural products, including the use of non-discriminatory forms of monitoring and oversight, the development of exchange of lab test information, and the joint detection of cases when the veterinary welfare of territories is affected.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also held bilateral talks with the heads of the government delegations of the EEU and the CIS.’

Aleksandr Lukashenko met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to discuss the most pressing issues of the bilateral relations and collaboration in integration associations.

When meeting with First Deputy Prime Minister Yaqub Eyyubov of Azerbaijan, the Belarusian President said that Minsk fulfills its commitments of a peaceful talks venue. These days the Belarusian capital has become a venue of international meetings: session of the EEU and CIS intergovernmental meetings, large-scale UNECE international conference and meetings of the working groups on Ukraine.