How the EAEU countries can maximise the effects of their integration

_ Evgeny Vinokurov, Director of the Centre for Integration Studies of Eurasian Development Bank (the EDB Centre for Integration Studies). Astana, 16 August 2017.

The EAEU countries can maximise the effects of their membership in the union, if they start working fast to promote integration in the field of investment and finance.

The Eurasian Intergovernmental Council held its session in the capital city of Kazakhstan, Astana. Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was among its participants. Based on the results of the session, several documents were signed, including: a decision on mutual recognition of driving licenses, instructions to implement Digital Agenda in the EAEU, a decision on drafting an agreement on pension coverage of employees in the EAEU member states, and a range of other documents.

However, the integration take-off of 2010-2015 has been followed by deceleration of integration developments in the EAEU. From the political standpoint, the theme of Eurasian integration has become secondary. In this context, the issue of launching ‘Integration 2.0’ is on the agenda. That involves supplementing integration in trade with rapid progress in integration in the field of investment and finance.

The the key themes for the medium-term perspective include completing the development of a common market for goods and services, and eliminating existing exemptions. In the near-term, i.e. in 2017-2019, the focus is to be on the following themes: developing a common electricity market by 2019; intensifying efforts to develop a common market of financial services.

Also, it would be essential to eliminate and unify non-tariff barriers within the union to the extent possible. The EAEU countries need some flexible forms of coordinating macroeconomic policies, including foreign exchange and financial issues. Thus, preventing the union from ‘going south’. It is not enough to create a common market, an efficient macroeconomic environment should be maintained to ensure its uninterrupted operation.

All that, combined with creating new free trade areas—an FTA is about to be established with Iran and Singapore—would help maximise the effects of integration within the EAEU.


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