Eurasian Economic Union

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Eurasian Economic Union
Евразийский Экономический Союз (Russian)
Political centres Moscow
Minsk
Astana
Membership Prospective Members:
 Belarus
 Kazakhstan
 Russia
Prospective Candidates:
 Armenia
 Kyrgyzstan
 Tajikistan
Leaders
 -  Eurasian Commissioners Russia Viktor Khristenko a
Establishment
 -  Original proposalb 1994 
 -  Establishment agreed 18 November 2011 
 -  Eurasian Economic Space (active) 1 January 2012 
 -  Eurasian Union (planned) 2015[1] 
Area
 -  Total 20,007,860 km2
7,725,077 sq mi
Population
 -  2014 estimate 186,743,501
 -  Density 8.36/km2
21.7/sq mi
Time zone (UTC+3 to +12)
a. Candidate.
b. By Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The Eurasian Economic Union (EAU; Listeni/ˌjʊərʒənˈjnjən/) is a proposed economic union of post-Soviet states.[2][3][4] On 18 November 2011, the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed an agreement, setting a target of establishing the Eurasian Union by 2015.[5] The agreement included the roadmap for the future integration and established the Eurasian Commission (modelled on the European Commission) and the Eurasian Economic Space, which started work on 1 January 2012.[5][6] Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have also expressed interest in joining the organization.[5]

The idea, based on the European Union's integration, was brought to attention in October 2011 by the then-Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin,[4][7] but was first proposed as a concept by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, during a 1994 speech at a Moscow university.[8]

Membership[edit]

If realized, the Eurasian Economic Union would comprise a number of states which were part of the former Soviet Union: Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.[9][10] Vladimir Putin stated in November 2011 that the Eurasian Union would build upon the "best values of the Soviet Union"; however, critics claimed that the drive towards integration aims to restore the "Soviet Empire".[11]

According to The New York Times, several candidates in Kyrgyzstan's 2011 presidential election have endorsed the concept.[12] In November 2011 Tajikistan's government said they were considering membership.[3]

Ukraine submitted an application to participate in the Eurasian Union as an observer in August 2013.[13]

Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said in September 2013 he was studying the possibility of acceding the Union, although he later clarified that Georgia's main strategy was still to integrate into the European Union.[14][15] Russia's Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev included Georgia as a prospective member in statements made in August 2013.[16]

In September 2013, Armenia announced its decision to join the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. President Serj Sargsyan of Armenia announced the decision after talks with his Russian counterpart President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. President Vladimir Putin supported the decision and pledged to "fully work for this to happen".[17] Russia is Armenia's largest trading partner, and bilateral trade grew 22% to $1.2 billion (€910 million) last year.[year needed][citation needed] Russia is also the biggest foreign investor in the small Eurasian economy, with a total of $3 billion (€2.27 billion) investments last year in a country whose GDP amounted to $9.9 billion (€7.5 billion) in 2012, according to the World Bank.

Putin's plan is for the Eurasian Customs Union to grow into a "powerful, supra-national union" of sovereign states like the European Union, uniting economies, legal systems, customs services, and military capabilities to form a bridge between Europe and Asia and rival the EU, the US, China, and India by 2015.[18]

Existing integration projects[edit]

The Customs Union of Russia, Kazakhstan & Belarus in comparison to other economies

The Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia has already brought partial economic integration between the three states, and the Eurasian Economic Union is said to be a continuation of this customs union. A number of other regional organisations also provide the basis for further integration: the Union State of Russia and Belarus; the Eurasian Economic Community of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan; the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, consisting of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan; and the Commonwealth of Independent States comprising most of the post-Soviet countries.

Belarus, Russia's closest ally has kept most of the economy in state hands and depended on cheap energy supplies and loans from Russia to keep it running. Belarus also has been an important military partner, hosting Russian military facilities and conducting joint maneuvers with Russian forces.[19]

Armenia, whose economy has been crippled by a blockade imposed by arch-enemy Turkey, has been a staunch Russian ally. It has depended on Russian loans and hosted a major Russian military base.[19] Kyrgyzstan's U.S. air base, – a key for supporting operations in nearby Afghanistan, – is now being shut down under Russian pressure. Kyrgyzstan also hosts a Russian air base, which is set to expand.[19] Tajikistan, one of the poorest ex-Soviet nations on Afghanistan's northern frontier, hosts an estimated 5,000 Russian troops and depends on Russian economic aid and remittances from migrants working in Russia.[19]

Eurasian Economic Commission[edit]

The agreement signed by prime minister Dmitry Medvedev of Russia, and presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan, and Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus established the Eurasian Commission, the supranational governing body of the Eurasian Economic Space, which started work on 1 January 2012.[6] The Commission is modeled on the European Commission.[5] The headquarters of the commission will be in Moscow, and the expenses of the infrastructure and accommodation of commission workers will be financed by Russia, while in general the commission budget will be financed by all three countries and dependent on taxation shares received from the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.[6] The existing three-country ECU represents a market of some 165 million people, and a combined GDP of around $2.3 trillion.

The commission will be headed by the Council, composed of three Vice Premiers from the Government of Belarus, the Government of Kazakhstan, and the Government of Russia, and each country will provide three more representatives who will carry out the operational management and oversee the everyday work of the organisation.[5] All these top members will receive the status of federal ministers in their respective countries.[6] The commission will consist of a number of departments, and its lower rank staff will be composed of 84% Russian officials, 10% Kazakhs, and 6% Belarusians, proportional to the populations of the member states.[5] A Russian candidate for the place in the commission's Council is Viktor Khristenko, the Minister of Industry and Trade (Khristenko will need to be made Vice Prime Minister in order to take the post). Kazakhstani and Belarusian candidates remain unknown.[6]

The Eurasian Commission will be eligible to make decisions not only with regard to customs policies, but in such areas as macroeconomics, regulation of economic competition, energy policy, and financial policy. The Commission will also be involved in government procurement and labour migration control.[6] The agreement on the Commission contains stringent anti-corruption regulations. President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia stated that both the positive and negative experiences of the European Union will be taken into account[20] and argued that the Eurasian Union will avoid the problems of economic gaps and disparity between countries, such as found in the eurozone, since the member countries have a comparable level of economic development, as well as common history and values.[21]

International response[edit]

  •  United States — The United States has expressed its opposition to the Eurasian Union, claiming it is "an attempt" to re-establish a USSR-type union among the former Soviet republics.[22] In December 2012, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed "It’s not going to be called that [USSR]. It’s going to be called customs union, it will be called the Eurasian Union and all of that, but let’s make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it".[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Ukraine cannot get observer status at Eurasian Econ Union due to Association Agreement with EU, Russia, Interfax-Ukraine (14 June 2013)
  2. ^ "Putin calls for the Eurasian Union". B92. RIA Novosti. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Putin calls for 'Eurasian Union' of ex-Soviet republics". BBC News. 4 October 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Bryanski, Gleb (3 October 2011). "Russia's Putin says wants to build "Eurasian Union"". Yahoo! News. Reuters. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Russia sees union with Belarus and Kazakhstan by 2015". BBC News. 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Евразийские комиссары получат статус федеральных министров". Tut.By (in Russian). 17 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "Новый интеграционный проект для Евразии – будущее, которое рождается сегодня". Izvestia (in Russian). 3 October 2011. Retrieved 4 October 2011. 
  8. ^ "Kazakhstan welcomes Putin's Eurasian Union concept". The Daily Telegraph. 6 October 2011. Retrieved 8 October 2011. 
  9. ^ Putin's Eurasian push challenges west by Neil Buckley, Financial Times, 6 October 2011.
  10. ^ "Moscow fleshes out 'Eurasian Union' plans". EurActiv. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Putin, Medvedev praise values of Soviet Union". Reuters. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  12. ^ Schwirtz, Michael (29 October 2011). "Kyrgyzstan Votes for a President, Feeling the Pull of Russia". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  13. ^ Ukraine seeking observer status in Eurasian Economic Union - Yanukovych, Interfax-Ukraine (19 December 2013)
  14. ^ "Georgian Prime Minister leaves open possibility of joining Eurasian Union". Information Telegraph Agency of Russia. 4 September 2013. 
  15. ^ "Georgian PM commented on his statement on Eurasian Union". Trend News Agency. 6 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "Medvedev wants Georgia to join Eurasian Union". 7 August 2013. 
  17. ^ http://www.euractiv.com/europes-east/eu-loses-armenia-russia-customs-news-530224
  18. ^ A brief primer on Vladimir Putin's Eurasian dream, The Guardian, Jon Henley, Feb 18, 2014
  19. ^ a b c d Putin Pursues 'Eurasian Union' Dream Through Dominating Neighbors, Huffington Post, AP, 03/06/2014
  20. ^ "Встреча президентов России, Республики Беларусь и Казахстана". kremlin.ru (in Russian). 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  21. ^ "Медведев: Евразийский экономический союз избежит проблем еврозоны". news.mail.ru (in Russian). 18 November 2011. Retrieved 19 November 2011. 
  22. ^ a b Clinton fears efforts to 're-Sovietize' in Europe - Associated Press, 6 December 2012

External links[edit]