The Eurasian Union invites the EU to initiate a dialogue on creating a common economic space

MOSCOW, October 26. The Board of the Eurasian economic Union (EEU), has offered the authorities of the European Union (EU) to start a dialogue about the creation of a common economic space, the official letter was submitted to the EU Commission. This was stated by the Minister for main integration directions and macroeconomics of the Eurasian economic Commission Tatiana Valovaya.

According to her, the decision to make a formal proposal to the EU Commission was adopted on 8 September in Hrodna at the meeting of heads of government of the Union, which includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia. The letter was sent in mid-October.

“We need to go back to the idea of creating a common economic space, and we propose to begin this dialogue,” said gross, noting that the letter is only “positionally”, that is, expresses the opinion of the Commission of the EAEC.

The initiative is the first major step of the Union towards the EU since its creation on 1 January 2015. In this case, two members of the EAEU – Russia and Belarus are European sanctions. Sanctions against Russia, introduced because of the events in Ukraine, banned a number of Russian companies to attract European funding for a period of more than 30 days, as well as to purchase high-tech equipment for development of hard-to-reach oil and gas deposits.

In response, Russia has imposed a ban on the import of certain food products from the EU. However, the absence of customs barriers between countries have resulted in a number of cases find ways around the embargo, which, according to Gross, have created “the problems in Russia’s relations with Kazakhstan and Belarus, because we have no borders, and unilateral measures”. The solution of such problems requires dialogue between the EU and the EEU.

“We, the States of the EEU are interested in to build direct relations between the Eurasian economic Commission and European Commission,” added gross. Answer of the Commission of the EEU has not yet been received.

“We proceed from the fact that in one form or another we will get the answer. No answer is also an answer. As we speak the last few years, we are ready for dialogue,” said gross.

Russia and the EU in 2007 started work on a new partnership agreement to replace the 1994 agreement, the validity of which expired in 2007. The partnership called for the creation of four common spaces, including economic. After the change of power in Ukraine in 2014, the annexation of Crimea and the introduction of the EU anti-Russian sanctions, the agreement was suspended.

New solutions

The creation of a common economic space will involve the coordination policy in the field of trade.

Gross added that even during the negotiations on partnership of the Russian representatives said European partners that, after the establishment of the Customs Union in 2010, a number of issues of economic cooperation was transferred to the authorities of the Customs Union. From 1 January 2015 these issues, including customs and technical regulation, within the competence of the Commission of the EAEC. Russia then offered to bring the negotiations on the collective level of the Customs, and then the Eurasian Union.

“At that time the European partners accepted the agreement with the coolness. I must say that the negotiation of a new agreement have stalled even before geopolitical turmoil. Our European colleagues were not ready to work in a different format,” said gross. The Minister expressed the hope that the cooling of relations with the EU and the complicated geopolitical situation will help to develop breakthrough solutions in the field of economic cooperation.

“As for geopolitical exacerbation, sometimes it helps to reach new solutions. We now understand that our European colleagues are aware that the EEU market for them is really interesting. They don’t want to lose,” said gross.

The Minister added that the negotiations on the common economic space with the EU may in the future complement the negotiations with China within the framework of the idea of “pairing” the EEU and project economic belt silk road, which involves the creation of transport, energy and trade corridor between Asia and Europe. She stressed that a common economic space with the Eurasian economic Union does not precludes the EU’s participation in the Transatlantic partnership with the United States.

“We believe that these partnerships will conform to universal norms of the WTO and do not contradict each other,” said gross.