The central theme of the round table was a discussion about the prospects and problems of creating a partnership between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union. Academics from Austria, Belarus, Germany, Tajikistan and Russia discussed whether signing of a “mega-deal” between the EU and the EAEU could be feasible and how it might look like.
The moderator of the discussion, Yuri Kofner, director of the Center for Eurasian Studies, reminded the participants that the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia favored the idea of “integration of integrations” from Lisbon to Vladivostok, that is the idea of cooperation between the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union. “The question to be discussed now is how such cooperation could be enhanced against the backdrop of the Ukrainian crisis”, said Kofner.
The main event of the round table was the presentation of the IIASA Futures Initiative “Challenges and Opportunities of Economic Integration within a Wider European and Eurasian Space”. This research initiative is conducted by IIASA in cooperation with the Eurasian Development Bank and the Eurasian Economic Commission. The presentation reviewing the experience of the comparison of alternative integration scenarios was held by Dr. Anastasia Stepanova., IIASA research scholar. It was complemented by the report overviewing the results of the workshop “Futures of Energy in Eurasia in the Global Context” that took place at IIASA in May 2015 presented by Kofner.
Dr. Dmitry Kondratov, senior researcher, Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences analyzed the experience of the EU, which could be used by the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC). “The fact that the EEC is implementing rules in accordance with the regulatory framework of the WTO is already a sound foundation for any possible future integration between the European and the Eurasian markets.”
Dr. Tatiana Isachenko, professor, MGIMO-University listed a number of obstacles in the way of possible EU – EAEU integration. Firstly, she mentioned the questions of economic policy coordination between the EAEU member states. Secondly, it is the political status of Crimea: Europe categorically stated its unwillingness to recognize the Russia’s view on this issue. Thirdly, as noted by Isachenko, American business is very actively promoting the Transatlantic partnership (TTIP) with the EU.
Dr. Kirill Koktysh, associate professor, MGIMO-University in his speech reviewed the internal political processes in the EU, which either prevented or promoted rapprochement between the European Union and Russia.
Other participants of the round table included: Najmiddin Abdurahmonov, leading specialist, management of the Office of the National Bank of Tajikistan; Dr. Vladimir Ivanov, director, “East-West” Institute branch in the Russian Federation; Dr. Yekaterina Novikova, assistant professor, Plekhanov Russian University of Economics; Dr. Alexander Schevchenko, senior researcher, Russian Institute for Strategic Studies.
The scientific debate revealed a high interest among the business and academic circles of Russia regarding the issues of a possible common economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok. Having come to the conclusion that a more detailed economic study of the conditions and consequences of a possible partnership between the EU and EAEU is essential, the experts praised the existence of the IIASA Futures Initiative “Challenges and Opportunities of Economic Integration within a Wider European and Eurasian Space”. Particular attention when conducting future research in this area, according to experts, should be devoted to the study of the US- and Canada led Transatlantic partnerships (TTIP, CETA) and their implications for foreign economic relations between the EU and the EAEU. Detailed results of the round table will be presented to the Eurasian Economic Commission, the Eurasian Development Bank, the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and other relevant institutions.
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