Eurasian Union Focuses on Enhancing Cooperation with CIS Countries

19 November 2018 young researchers – participants of the EAEU research exchange, conducted by the Higher School of Economics for the Eurasian Economic Commission, participated in the scientific-practical conference “Engagement of CIS member states that are not members of the EAEU into Eurasian integration: opportunities and difficulties”, which was held at the Analytical Center under the Government of the Russian Federation.

Analytical Center experts presented the results of the research aimed at making proposals for the development of strategy of interaction with CIS countries not being members of the Eurasian Economic Union.

Interaction of EAEU with CIS countries is a priority area in the Union’s international activity, Deputy Director of the EEC Integration Development Department, Goar Barsegyan said while opening the conference “Engagement of CIS countries not being members of EAEU in Eurasian integration: opportunities and challenges”, which was held at the Analytical Center site.

“CIS countries are parts of formerly powerful countries of common cultural and language space. Their economies were formed simultaneously and in common conditions. All of this determines the pertinence of economies for each other and is their competitive advantage in the global context. The Chairman of the EAEU Supreme Economic Council deems it appropriate to study the opportunities of conjunction of the Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States formats, of which some member countries could be observers”, Barsegyan said.

The work of the Analytical Center specialists includes specific proposals of improving and enhancing cooperation between the countries and supposes introduction of changes into the regulatory base of EAEU and CIS countries, she highlighted.

When preparing the research, the Analytical Center examined the economic situation in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Ukraine. With this end, a survey was performed with participation of residents and business representatives from these countries; more than 18 thousand persons and almost 3 thousand small business organizations took part in this survey. The Head of the Directorate for Foreign Economic Activities of the Analytical Center Ksenia Bannikova communicated its results to the conference participants.

The survey demonstrated that residents of CIS countries think that the activity of the Eurasian Economic Union results in simplification of the procedure of transition between the EAEU member countries for vacation and medical treatment, as well as expansion of variety of products in shops due to appearance of new brands and suppliers. Also, they note opening up new education opportunities, an increase in number of jobs and simplification of foreign employment procedure. Businessmen also see such effects as reduction of customs duties, customs barriers, simplification of customs control procedures, opening of new sales market and influx of work force. In the long view, while deepening cooperation, they would expect and increase of investments in their countries from the Eurasian Economic Union.

According to the Analytical Center experts, interaction with CIS countries should start with mild forms. In particular, they offer to collaborate in the status of a “dialogue partner” — interact with EAEU committees, and discuss common interests. Another format is commercial and economic contracts providing preferential conditions of mutual trade in goods and services without participation in EAEU activities. Yet another format supposing greater involvement of countries in the process of Eurasian integration, is already developed in the Union status of an observer at the EAEU.

“The main thing is than we must decline none of the forms of interaction and collaboration. The key principles must be differentiation by forms of collaboration, complementarity, i.e. permissibility of participation of countries in different integration unions and focus on specific tangible result”, the advisor to the Head of the Analytical Center Sergey Kolobanov summarized the speeches of his colleagues.

The conference participants noted the importance and timeliness of this study. “We need to be present in the post-Soviet space, otherwise those CIS countries that are not EAEU members will further estrange from the EAEU. We need a cooperation strategy, but we must be flexible in its implementation”, the Head of the Eurasian sector of CCEIS NRU HSE Yuriy Kofner noted.

Currently, a draft declaration on deepening the integration processes is being developed at the Eurasian Economic Commission site, Goar Barsegyan said. “We are open for advanced cooperation with CIS countries, and the first step may be signing a memorandum to enhance cooperation between the EEC and the CIS Executive Committee scheduled for the 29th day of November”, Barsegyan highlighted.

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