Eurasian Economic Union
|-||Chairman of the Eurasian Commission||Viktor Khristenko|
|-||Establishment agreed||18 November 2011|
|-||Eurasian Economic Community||10 October 2000|
|-||Eurasian Customs Union||1 January 2010|
|-||Eurasian Economic Space||1 January 2012|
|-||Eurasian Union Treaty (signed)||29 May 2014|
|-||Eurasian Union (established)||1 January 2015|
7,741,564 sq mi
|-||2014 estimate||171,116,970 (including Crimea and Sevastopol)|
|GDP (PPP)||2013 estimate|
|-||Total||US$4.023 trillions (5th)|
|Time zone||(UTC+3 to +12)|
|Calling code||+375 (in Belarus)
+7 (in Kazakhstan and Russia)
Eurasian Economic Commission
|b.||By Kazakhstani President Nursultan Nazarbayev.|
The Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), also known as the Eurasian Union (EAU; i/ /), is an economic union which is planned to be established by a treaty signed on 29 May 2014 between the leaders of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. The Union will officially go into effect on 1 January 2015 assuming the treaty is approved by the parliaments of the three countries.
The Eurasian Economic Union would create a single economic market of 171 million people and a gross domestic product of 3 trillion U.S. dollars. The republics of Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan have also expressed interest in joining the organization.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Politics and governance
- 4 Economy
- 5 Demographics
- 6 Existing integration projects
- 7 International response
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
After the end of the Cold War and the Dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia and the central Asian republics were weakened economically and faced declines in GDP growth. Post-Soviet states underwent economic reforms and privatization. As a result on December 8, 1991 the process of Eurasian integration began immediately after the break-up of the Soviet Union to salvage economic ties with Post-Soviet states through the creation of the Commonwealth of Independent States by the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.
In 1994, President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, suggested the idea of creating a regional trading bloc during a speech at Moscow State University, in order to connect and profit from the growing economies of Europe and East Asia. The idea was quickly seen as a way to bolster trade, boost investments in the region, and serve as a counterweight to Western integration unions. During the 1990s the Eurasian integration process has been slow, possibly due to the economic crisis experienced after the Dissolution of the Soviet Union and the size of the countries involved (Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan cover an area of about 20 mln km2). As a result numerous treaties have been signed by member states to establish the regional trading bloc gradually.
In 1996 Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia and Kyrgyzstan signed the Treaty on Increased Integration in the Economic and Humanitarian Fields. The goal of this treaty was to further economic integration between countries to allow for the creation common markets for goods, services, capitals, labor, and developing single transport, energy, and information systems.
To promote further integration and more cooperation, In 2000 Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan established the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) which Uzbekistan joined in 2006. The Eurasian Economic Community is modeled on the European Economic Community, both have a comparable population size of 171 million and 169 million respectively. 2003 saw the second Treaty on the Single Economic Space by Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia where the groundwork was laid to continue the integration process. Efforts by these countries were increased in 2006 to further the creation of the Eurasian Customs Union.
The Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia came into existence on 1 January 2010. The Customs Union's priorities were the elimination of intra-bloc tariffs, establishing a common external tariff policy and the elimination of non-tariff barriers. It was launched as a first step towards forming a broader Common Market inspired by the European Union, though not aiming at a political integration (thus, more similar to Mercosur, NAFTA or ASEAN), with the objective of forming an alliance between former Soviet states. The member states planned to continue with economic integration and were set to remove all customs borders between each other after July 2011.
In 2012 the then-Prime Minister of Russia, Vladimir Putin, supported Nursultan Nazarbayev's idea for the creation of a Eurasian Economic Union. On 18 November 2011 the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed an agreement, setting a target of establishing the Eurasian Economic Union by 2015. The member states put together a joint commission on fostering closer economic ties.
Since 1 January 2012, the three states are a single economic space called Common Economic Space which aims to ensure the effective functioning of the common market for goods, services, capital and labor, and to establish coherent industrial, transport, energy and agricultural policies. The Eurasian Economic Commission is the regulatory agency for the Customs Union and the Eurasian Economic Community.
The Eurasian Economic Union is not intended to be a political bloc, but a purely economic union. The agreement included the roadmap for the future integration and established the Eurasian Economic Commission (modeled on the European Commission) and the Eurasian Economic Space, which started work on 1 January 2012.
After signing the agreement establishing the Eurasian Economic Union, President Putin said, "Today we are creating a powerful, attractive center of economic development, a big regional market that unites more than 170 million people." Bakytzhan Sagintayev, the first deputy prime minister of Kazakhstan and lead negotiator said, "We are not creating a political organization; we are forming a purely economic union." He went on to say "it is a pragmatic means to get benefits. We don’t meddle into what Russia is doing politically, and they cannot tell us what foreign policy to pursue."
Treaty on the Customs Union
Agreement on Increased integration in the Economic and Humanitarian Fields
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan
Treaty on the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan
Treaty on the establishment the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC)
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan
Treaty on forming the Single Economic Space
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine
Treaty on the Commission of the Customs Union
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia
Establishment of the Customs Union
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia
Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Commission
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia
Establishment of the Single Economic Space
Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia
Establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union
The Eurasian Economic Union's member states cover an area of over 20,000,000 square kilometers, approximately 15% of the world's land surface.
The Eurasian Economic Union's highest peak is the Khan Tengri in the Tian Shan mountains, Kazakhstan, 7,010 m above sea level. The lowest point in the Eurasian Economic Union is the Karagiye Depression in Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan's Caspian shore includes some of the lowest elevations on Earth. According to a 2005 estimate by the United Nations, 40% of Belarus is covered by forests. 11,000 lakes and many water streams are also found in Belarus. Russia is known for its extensive mineral and energy resources, the largest reserves in the world, making it the world's largest producer of oil and natural gas.
According to 2007 estimates, the Eurasian Economic Union's population of 170'000'000 people is mostly urbanized, with Russia and Belarus having over 70% of their population living in urban areas, and Kazakhstan 54%.
|Signatory states to the founding treaty||Potential future members|
The Eurasian Economic Union will initially comprise three states which were part of the former Soviet Union: Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia. Armenia's Prime Minister has pledged that the country will become a full member of the EEU on January 1, 2015. Kyrgyzstan plans to join before the end of 2015, while Tajikistan and Uzbekistan hope to join.
In September 2013, Armenia announced its decision to join the Eurasian Customs Union. 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". Armenia's Prime Minister, Hovik Abrahamyan, announced on July 22, 2014 plans to sign a treaty in October 2014 to make his country a full member of the EEU on January 1, 2015.
Vladimir Putin stated in November 2011 that the Eurasian Economic 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".
Ukraine submitted an application to participate in the Eurasian Economic Union as an observer in August 2013. Its membership was seen by some analysts as the key to the success of the union. Russian pressure for Ukraine to join the Eurasian Economic Union instead of the European Union was a key factor in the Euromaidan protests that ended Viktor Yanukovych's rule as president of Ukraine and led to the Crimean Crisis. With high tensions between Russia and Ukraine in the wake of the crisis, the future inclusion of Ukraine seems unlikely. Ukraine has the second largest economy of any of the 15 former republics of the Soviet Union.
Georgia’s Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili said in September 2013 he was studying the possibility of acceding to the Union, although he later clarified that Georgia's main strategy was still to integrate into the European Union. Russia's Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev included Georgia as a prospective member in statements made in August 2013.
According to The Guardian newspaper, 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. Russia is the biggest foreign investor in the 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.
Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia have been pressured by both the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union to join their integration unions. All three countries opted for the European Union by signing association agreements on the March 21, 2014. However break-away regions of Moldova (Transnistria), Ukraine (Republic of Donetsk) and Georgia (South Ossetia and Abkhasia) have expressed their will to join the Eurasian Customs Union and integrate into the Eurasian Economic Union.
Politics and governance
The Eurasian Economic Union has sought to base its model on the European Union.
Important decisions for the Eurasian Economic Union are addressed by the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council, which is composed of the Heads of State of the Member States.
The Eurasian Economic Commission carries out its work in compliance with the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) and the international agreements that provide the legal and regulatory framework of the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space. They also apply decisions passed by the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.
Eurasian Economic Commission
The agreement signed by Russia's prime minister Dmitry Medvedev, Kazakhstan's president Nursultan Nazarbayev and Belarus' president Alexander Lukashenko established the Eurasian Commission, the supranational governing body of the Eurasian Economic Space, which started work on 1 January 2012. The commission will also monitor subordinate branches and advisory bodies. Departments will greatly expanded, and the number of international employees will increase from 150 to 1,200.
The Eurasian Economic Commission consists of two bodies:
The commission is headed by a Council, composed of three Vice Prime Ministers from the Government of Belarus, the Government of Kazakhstan and the Government of Russia. The Eurasian Council gives direction to the EEU, and convenes once every quarter.
Each country will provide representatives to the Board of the Eurasian Commission who will carry out the operational management and oversee the everyday work of the Eurasian Commission. All these top members will receive the status of federal ministers in their respective countries. 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. The Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission meets at least once every week, and is responsible for the day-to-day running of the Eurasian Union and integration into the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space. One of the 9 commissioners is the Chairman of the board. The chairman and the other 8 commissioners are appointed by the Supreme Eurasian Council for a four year renewable term.
The Board of the Eurasian Commission is 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 Board is also involved in government procurement and labor migration control. 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 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.
The expenses of the infrastructure and accommodation of commission workers is financed by Russia, while in general the commission budget is financed by all three countries and dependent on taxation shares received from the Customs Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia. The existing three-country ECU represents a market of some 165 million people and a combined GDP of around $2.3 trillion.
Eurasian Development Bank
Its mission is to facilitate the development of market economies, economic growth and the expansion of trade its member states through investments. It also finances and helps projects that promote and support Eurasian integration.
The Bank has provided financing totaling more than US $4,5 billion to investment projects in its member states.
The Chairman of the Management Board is elected for four years and may be re-elected for only one additional term of office.
Eurasian Inter-Parliamentary Assembly
In 2012, the creation of a Eurasian parliament was under consideration. However, it was considered too premature, and member states have instead considered creating an Inter-Parliamentary Assembly for the Eurasian Economic Union which facilitates interaction between the parliaments of the member states, develops recommendations on harmonization of the legal codes of member states, and works on the harmonization of national laws in the areas established by the agreement. Russian president Vladimir Putin has upholded the idea of creating an inter-parliamentary structure for the union.
Court of the Eurasian Economic Union
While the current draft appears to be silent on the judicial body, the new court will replace the Court of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC Court). It will be in charge of dispute resolution and interpretation of the legal order within the Eurasian Customs Union, the Eurasian Economic Community and Eurasian Economic Union itself. Its headquarters will be in Minsk.
The Single Economic Space established a single market across the territory of the 3 member states. The three countries represent a market of some 171 million people and a combined GDP of around $2.3 trillion. Russia has the 8th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and the 6th largest by purchasing power parity. Since the turn of the century, member states have experienced economic growth with GDP averaging 6% to 8% growth between 2000 and 2007, rising again in 2010 after the Financial crisis of 2007–08. Since the establishment of the Eurasian Customs Union in 2010, trade between member states rose sharply. In 2011 mutual trade was USD 63.1 billion, 33.9% more than in 2010. In 2012, mutual trade was USD 67.9 billion and combined exports reached USD 593.7 billion, while imports were USD 340.9 billion.
The Eurasian Economic Union is designed to reach a number of macroeconomic objectives such as reducing commodity prices by reducing the cost of transportation of raw materials, increasing return on new technologies and products due to the increased market volume, and promoting "healthy" competition in the common market. It is also designed to lower food prices, increase employment in industries and increase production capacity.
The Fund for Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation, formed by contributions of the EEU supports the development of high-tech economic, scientific and technical programs, and assists in solving variety of legal, tax, financial, and environmental tasks
The core objective of the Single Economic Space was the development of a single market and achieving the “four freedoms”. The free movements of goods, capital, services and people within the single market comes into effect on January 1, 2015 (the day the Eurasian Economic Union is established). The free movement of people means that citizens can move freely between member states to live, work, study or retire in another country. Citizens of the member states of the union may travel to other member states on an internal passport. Although Russia also admits access to citizens of other CIS states without a passport, it is expected that after 2015 only citizens of the Customs Union will have this privilege. Member states have a common external tariff on all goods entering the market and unified methods of valuing imported goods since the creation of the Eurasian Customs Union on January 1, 2010.
The Eurasian Economic Commission operates a competition policy to ensure equal competitive conditions in the commodity markets of the Single Economic Space. It also aims at harmonization and improvement of legislation of each of the three countries in regard to competition policy. The commission serves is the competition regulator for the single market and is also responsible of antitrust issues. Special regulations limits state intervention in the economy.
The idea of the new joint currency was proposed by Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev. When discussing the Eurasian Economic Union, Vladimir Putin said the Eurasian Economic Union would include closer coordination of economic and monetary policy, including the use of a common currency in the future. Although the creation of a monetary union was not envisaged in the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, called for the introduction of a common currency for the Eurasian Economic Union. Leonid Slutsky, head of the State Duma's CIS committee backed Medvedev's proposal to start discussions on the creation of a monetary union. Slutsky said it could be introduced shortly after 2015, when the union's structure becomes clear. Belarusian president, Alexander Lukashenko, circulated the idea of creating a “new euro” for the Eurasian economic bloc. In April 2014, discussions to introduce a single currency resumed.
The Eurasian Economic Union is seen as an energy superpower, producing about 20.7% of the world’s natural gas, and 14.6% of the world’s oil and gas condensate in 2012, making it the world’s top producer in both domains. It also produces 9% of the world’s electrical energy and 5.9% of the world’s coal, making it the third and fourth producer in the world respectively. In Kazakhstan, energy is the leading economic sector. The country holds about 4 billion tons of proven recoverable oil reserves and 2,000 cubic kilometers (480 cu mi) of gas. Kazakhstan is the world’s 17th oil exporter and the world’s 23rd natural gas exporter. Russia has the world's largest natural gas reserves, the 8th largest oil reserves, and the second largest coal reserves. Russia is the world's leading natural gas exporter and second largest natural gas producer, while also the largest oil exporter and the largest oil producer.
The major economic centers are Moscow, Minsk and Astana. The distance between Moscow and Minsk is 717 kilometers, and the distance between Moscow and Astana is 2700 kilometers, making infrastructure a key challenge for the integration of member states. In 2007 Moscow announced it will invest 1 trillion USD by 2020 to modernize the country’s infrastructure.
Kazakhstan ranks favorably in terms of miles of road per inhabitant as other developed countries in the world have much less roadway per inhabitant.
Railways have been the primary way of linking countries in the Eurasian Economic Union since the 19th century. It has always been the main way of transport in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union up until today. The union ranks 2nd in the world in terms of railway trackage (about 7.8% of the world’s share), however it is still looking to improve cross-border trade within the union.
The Eurasian Development Bank has pledged to help in the construction of facilities to produce new generation freights cars and freight containers in Tikhvin, Russia and in Osipovichi, Belarus to respond to the increasing demand for rail transport. Projects have also been launched in Kazakhstan, as the landlocked country is highly dependent on railways for trade.
The Eurasian Economic Union is the top producer of sugar beet and sunflower, producing 18.6% of the world’s sugar beet and 22.7% of the world’s sunflowers in 2012, as well as a top producer of rye, barley, buckwheat, oats and sunflower seed. It is also a large producer of potatoes, wheat and grain (and grain legumes).
Part of the competences of the Eurasian Economic Commission are agriculture subsidies. It is responsible for the coordination of agricultural policy-making between member states and ensuring collective food security. The Eurasian Development Bank finances projects to further integration and develop agriculture. It has disbursed approximately US$470 million for projects between 2008 and 2013.
Projected economic impact
The Eurasian Economic Union has significant potential over the next two decades, with experts predicting a 25 percent growth in the member states’ GDP by 2030, which equates to over US$600bn. The agreement will give member state citizens access to employment and education across the union. It will also entail collaborative policies in many sectors including agriculture, energy, technology and transportation.
Free trade agreements
Russia's economic development minister stated that the Turkish economic minister, Nihat Zeybekci, put forward an initiative for closer cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union, including the formation of a free trade zone between the union and Turkey.
Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang stated in July 2012 that Vietnam may join the Customs Union: "if there is a political will from our country’s authorities, as well as Belarusian and Kazakh partners, we will soon be able to start this process". The Customs Union completed a free trade agreement (FTA) feasibility study for Vietnam in November 2012 and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated in November 2012 that negotiations over the FTA will begin in early 2013. Vietnamese officials estimated in September 2012 that negotiations could take two years. Trade between Vietnam and the Customs Union in 2011 was 2.24 billion USD.
Russian President Vladimir Putin stated at a July 2014 meeting of ambassadors and permanent representatives of the Russian Federation that he was ready to discuss a free trade area between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union.
The combined population of all member states was forecast to be 171,116,970 in 2014.
Largest cities or towns of Eurasian Union
Rosstat (2009), Belstat.gov , UCI.edu 
The Eurasian Economic Union has 17 cities with more than 1 million inhabitants, the largest being Moscow. The most densely populated areas are the capital cities of member states, and European Russia. Siberia is the region with the least inhabitants. In Russia about 160 different ethnic groups and indigenous peoples live within its borders. Kazakhstan and Belarus are home to sizable ethnic Russian minorities. Though the member states of the Eurasian Economic Union's populations are comparatively large, its density is low because of the enormous size of Russia and Kazakhstan. The Eurasian Economic Union's average birth rate in 2010 was 12.5 births per 1000 people, higher than the European Union, which has an average of 9.90 births per 1000 people.
Existing integration projects
The Eurasian Economic Community customs union 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. However, the impact of that agreement is unclear – trade between the three states actually fell 13% during the agreement's first year.
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.
Western analysts generally see the Eurasian Economic Union as a way to reunite many of the former Soviet republics. For example, Washington Post author Abigail Hauslohner wrote the treaty was intended "to further bolster [Russia]’s ties to former Soviet republics." The United States expressed its opposition to the Eurasian Union, claiming it is "an attempt" to re-establish a USSR-type union among the former Soviet republics. In December 2012, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed "It’s not going to be called that [Soviet Union]. 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".
However, other analysts doubted the union would have any real effect. "Without modernization and real economic reforms, what does it mean, this union?" said Alexey Malashenko of the Carnegie Endowment’s Moscow center. Commentary published in The Economist stated "The EEU was supposed to be a counterweight to the European Union and the West. That is now looking unlikely." and "The agreement was vague, with technical details left unresolved, making it a political show rather than economically".
Kazakhstan president Nursultan Nazarbayev called it "a hard-won achievement," and "a blessing for our people." However, not all Kazakh citizens were happy about the agreement; dozens of people protesting the agreement were arrested in the nation's capital after it was signed.
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