Session of Supreme Eurasian Economic Council

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The progress in eliminating barriers, exemptions and restrictions on the EAEU market is too slow, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in St Petersburg on 6 December. 

In his speech at the summit the head of state mentioned several pending issues in the EAEU. Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke about all of them and voiced Belarus’ position.

“I have to say it, but I am not going to complain. I am going to speak about the unfulfilled agreements. Our union (luckily I was one the founders) relies on a certain freedom of movement of workforce, capitals, services, goods. And the main thing is that we agreed to provide equal conditions for all economic operators and our people when we created a common economy. A union is impossible without such equal conditions,” the Belarusian leader remarked.

Elimination of barriers and exemptions on the EAEU market

According to the President, during its chairmanship in the EAEU bodies Russia continued to remove barriers, exemptions and restrictions on the way to create the common EAEU market at the beginning of 2018. “This is one of the most topical issues for our union, and it was outlined by the Belarusian side several years ago. However, the progress in the resolution of this issue is too slow. Moreover, old barriers are often replaced by new ones,” the head of state said.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, this situation is inadmissible as it violates the existing agreements. “As practice showed it is important not only to eliminate barriers but also to create conditions to prevent their re-emergence. In this context, I suggest authorizing our Eurasian Economic Commission to make decisions in case any EAEU member state re-extends the existing exemptions,” he said.

According the Belarusian side, this will help prevent protectionism which has a strong negative impact on integration processes without affecting national interests. “All people partaking in this meeting criticized global protectionism and even called it economic wars. Why do we create it here then?” the President said. “It is also essential to toughen the responsibility of our executives for making decisions in contradiction with the principles envisaged in our EAEU treaty.”

Formation of common markets

Belarus is in favor of the comprehensive and unconditional observation of the EAEU norms and obligations by all member states. Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that the sides agreed to create common markets of gas, oil and oil products by 2025.

“We have to accomplish these goals on schedule and to ensure the operation of the union in terms of the stable and fair fuel and raw materials policy,” the head of state said. “There are no interests of suppliers and consumers of energy resources in allied relations. The Eurasian Economic Union is an integral system. We have adopted this concept.”

The President expressed solidarity with the Russian side on the need to develop new forms of cooperation, including in nuclear and renewable energy. However, the Belarusian leader believes that the lack of agreement on the principles of creating a common oil and gas market will not allow the EAEU develop more quickly. The resolution of this key issue will make it possible for the member states to develop cooperation in other fields.

Development of digital economy in EAEU countries

This topic was discussed in detail at the meeting in the narrow format. The countries have ambitious goals to promote the use of modern technologies and models of production. “Our concerted efforts to integrate the potentials of our states through digital solutions will have an impact on the efficiency of the integration project as a whole and the future of our union,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Belarus is ready to take an active part in the implementation of the projects and initiatives concerning the digital agenda of the EAEU.”

First of all, this pertains to digital trade and cooperation, electronic logistics, formation of digital transport corridors, development of precise technologies in agriculture and manufacturing.

“The digital agenda has been in the spotlight in Belarus for a long time. Judging by our experience, I should say that it is now popular to speak about digital transformations and IT development. This is a very important industry, it helps reduce prime costs. But, perhaps, this segment accounts for 20-25% of our today’s life. The remaining 70-75% belongs to the traditional economy. We should not forget about it,” the head of state added.

Development of space and geoinformation technologies

The agenda of the EAEU summit also included the development of cooperation in space exploration and geoinformation services using the national devices for remote sensing of Earth.

The implementation of this imitative will give a strong impetus to our innovative and industrial cooperation taking into account its high multiplicative effect for the development of adjacent industries,” the President said.

Speaking about the prospects of the further development of the EAEU, Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that the Eurasian integration project should embrace all new cooperation avenues.

“In this regard it is especially important to see concrete and tangible results of our work in year when we will mark the 5th anniversary of our union. There should be no doubts that the EAEU is an efficient joint project aimed at raising the level of economic wellbeing in all member states,” the Belarusian leader concluded.