From 19 to 20 September 2016 Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, hosted the I. Eurasian Civil Forum which brought together young scientists and public figures of the five member States of the Eurasian Economic Union with a total of over 30 participants. September 20th, 2016, as part of the educational program of the Forum, at the Russian Embassy in the Republic of Armenia a panel session on the topic “The Eurasian Economic Union: yesterday, today and tomorrow” was held with the participation of reknown experts from the Eurasian Economic Commission, the Armenian State University of Economics and the Center for Eurasian Studies (CES).
Dmitry Yezhov, advisor, Integration Development Department, Eurasian Economic Commission held two reports: “EAEU: the history of creation, government structure and decision-making process” and “Main directions of the international activity of the EAEU.” Yulia Chalay, aid to the Chairman of the Board of Eurasian Economic Commission told young scientists about the “Macroeconomic trends and prospects of the Eurasian Economic Union.”
Ashot Tevikyan,doctor in economics, professor, Armenian State University of Economics, co-author of a number of research reports of the EADB spoke about “The economic results and prospects of Armenia’s economic development in the EAEU.”
Yuri Kofner, director, Center for Eurasian Studies (CES) told the young scientists about the “Challenges and prospects of cooperation between the European Union and the EAEU”. The idea of creating a common economic space “from Lisbon to Vladivostok” is supported by the leaders and by most of the expert community of the EAEU member states. There is certain economic and cultural background for creating a wider Euro-Eurasian space. For example, the EU is the main importer of goods produced in the Eurasian Economic Union (53.2%), and the EAEU is the third largest trade partner of the EU after the US and China. In the long term a common economic space between the two unions could provide an additional GDP growth up to 2.0% for EAEU member states. At the same time, such a common space would not be profitable for Armenia (-3.4% of GDP).
A basis for such a common space would be an “asymmetric” agreement on comprehensive and deep economic cooperation between the EAEU and the EU, which would have the character of a “mega deal” (Vinokurov) in which compromises would be interdependent. A “simple” FTA would be disadvantageous to the EAEU member states with their export structure dominated by raw materials. Concessions in some areas should be compensated by gains in others. However, such an agreement on comprehensive economic cooperation and integration between the EU and the EAEU could become a reality only by the middle of the 2020s, primarily for political reasons.
Yuri Kofner noted that the only place where proper studies of the challenges and prospects for cooperation between the EAEU and the EU are conducted is the IIASA in Vienna, Austria, where such a joint research project is conducted in cooperation with the EADB and EEC.
After the panel session discussions on the humanitarian, educational and economic aspects of Eurasian integration took place.