15 February 2018 at the Eurasian Economic Commission HQ in Moscow a meeting of the “Lisbon to Vladivostok” working group was held. It was created on the initiative of large European businesses, which advocate for the establishment of cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEA) and the European Union (EU).
The event was attended by Anastasia Stepanova, Ph.D. (Economics), research fellow, IIASA, coordinator of the international research project “Challenges and Opportunities for a Wider European and Eurasian Economic Space” (InEurasia). Dr. Stepanova, in her report, presented the latest results of three recent studies conducted by IIASA on mutual investment between the EU and the EAEA, on harmonization of technical regulations between the EU and the EAEA and on transport corridors in Greater Eurasia.
“The need for a dialogue of the EAEU and the EU is being frequently discussed nowadays in key international markets, involving an increasingly wide range of both of the representatives of businesses and expert communities, specialized international associations and institutions, and official representatives of the Member States of the two unions,” declared Tatyana Valovaya, Member of the Board – Minister in charge of Integration and Macroeconomics of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC).
The meeting of the working group was opened by Ulf Schneider, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Schneider Group, and Alexander Rahr, the scientific director of the German-Russian forum, both being the initiators of the discussion in this format. In particular, Ulf Schneider highlighted the relevance of the professional discussion of the prospects for cooperation of the EAEU and the EU and informed the attendees about the successful past presentations of the “From Lisbon to Vladivostok” project in the EAEU Member States in 2017.
“We hear the message of European businesses and expect that their initiatives are contributing to the establishment of a formal dialogue between the EEC and the European Commission,” Tatyana Valovaya informed in her welcoming address at the opening of the meeting. The EEC Minister emphasized the fact that today’s level of contacts with the EU is considerably worse in terms of the intensity than the interaction of the EAEU with its partners on other tracks, such as Asian and Latin American ones.
The EEC Minister noted that the business discussion is supported by the analytical work of the international expert community. Tatyana Valovaya drew attention to the project of the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (Austria) and the Eurasian Development Bank aimed at analyzing the prospects of the dialogue between the two integration frameworks, including the idea of presenting the results of the first phase of the study “EU and EAEU: long-term dialogue and prospects of their agreement” successively in Brussels and Moscow in the first half of this year.
“In order to establish a formal dialogue between the two unions, a powerful global objective is needed,” the EEC Minister summarized. “The formation of a common economic space in Eurasia is exactly the kind of prospects that should stimulate the negotiators.”
Tatyana Valovaya responded to questions raised by the representatives of the European businesses, which related to the EAEU cooperation with China, and interlinking of the EAEU and the Chinese “One Belt, One Road” initiative. At the same time, the EEC Minister expressed confidence that the beneficiary of interaction on this market could be not only Eurasian and Chinese businesses, but also the European ones. The EU companies are already interested in joint infrastructure projects, which the EAEU and China expect to implement jointly. According to Tatyana Valovaya, there is a great potential for cooperation in the field of digital infrastructure.
Following the discussion, two more European companies – Bosch and Knorr-Bremse – joined the open Memorandum on a common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok signed last year by the representatives of the European business community (Schneider Group, Bosch, Metro, Rhenus Logistics, Siemens, Knorr-Bremse, OWC, Wilo, Knauf, Allianz).