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Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Lukashenko upset Putin’s grim speech at the summit of the EAEC

The presidents of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia gathered for a summit of the Eurasian economic Union in Astana, were forced to acknowledge that their Union has failed to solve any of the challenges – turnover falls, free trade barriers limit many, as neighboring States continue to “fight” with each other then for milk, then for the potatoes.

photo: kremlin.ru

The Eurasian economic Union is justified only the first word of its name – the Eurasian. With the economy in the countries of “five” for the second year in a row, nothing good happens – if last year the trade turnover decreased by 26% in the first half of this a further 30%.

While Armenia and Kazakhstan, Belarus and Kyrgyzstan do not trade with each other. It strengthens the skeptics in the opinion that the EEU was created mainly for political purposes and is another form of interaction of Russia with other countries of the Union, and within these countries the common interests are almost there.

Armenia from the very beginning did not hide, what not last role in her decision to join the EAEU played safety issues. However, the recent conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh showed that the target not achieved: two countries of the Alliance took a Pro-Azerbaijani position and actually disrupted a meeting of heads of governments of the EEU in Yerevan. The Armenian President decided not to leave this glaring case without attention.

Or the Eurasian economic Union will be reviewed by our international partners as an area of economic stability and security in which to invest. Or everyone will assume that there is a permanent hotbed of tension and discord, – said Serzh Sargsyan, stressing that Azerbaijan’s actions have become “a serious challenge to the security of States,” whose members simultaneously included in the Treaty on collective security.

There was no reason for joy and the President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atanbaev. The Astana summit was held in the midst of another “trade war” – this time between Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan (Recall that in 2015 the same problems were in Russia and Belarus as well as Russia and Kazakhstan).

The accession to the EEC turned into a serious blow to the Kyrgyz food industry – local businesses, primarily flour milling factories forced to close, unable to compete with partners for integration. And recently, Kazakhstan has imposed an embargo on the supply of the Kirghiz potatoes.

However, Atambayev is not accidental is famous for meekness, modesty and even not usual for politicians of such level of sensitivity. At the summit he did not protest and did not require, but only asked Putin and Nazarbayev to Bishkek solve the issues. “Our Union has faults and losses, but it should be in a young body who just appeared” – not very logical to justify the problems of Eurasian integration Atambayev.

All the i was traditionally placed Alexander Lukashenko. The old man didn’t mince words and bluntly declared that the formation of the Union goals are not achieved, and the principle of equality of participants is not observed. “How would our Association nor evolved – first the Customs Union, then a common economic space, the EEU now – the number of trade restrictions have not changed, and remains at 600. What’s more – after signing the contract, our internal trade turnover falls only”, – said Lukashenko.

He acknowledged that not all items of the Treaty establishing the EAEC suited to the present state of the economy, and some sensitive aspects, it is generally not spelled out. In particular, it is not clear how the five Nations should respond if someone, like Russia, for political or other reasons decides to close its market for goods from third countries. (Recall that in the case of Ukraine, none of the countries of the EEU have not listened to the appeals of the Kremlin to show solidarity in the issue of the embargo).

Vladimir Putin had tried to brighten up the gloomy statistics made in the statement Lukashenko. According to his version, at the time of the birth of the Union Treaty, it featured 422, and not 600 exclusions and restrictions of free trade. To date, 80 have now been resolved, 30 are in the process of negotiation, he said. However, the Russian President also does not test special illusions – yet at the bilateral meeting with Nursultan Nazarbayev, held prior to the summit, he said that he didn’t expect magic from the EEU.

The official themes of this summit were identified as the cooperation with other countries and international organizations, as well as the creation of a common market of oil and gas. Officials of the Eurasian Commission has repeatedly stated that wanting to create a free trade zone with the EEU lined up. But so far signed only one agreement with Vietnam, and it has not yet passed the ratification in the three countries out of five. The main problems of the Union in the foreign policy bluntly called again Alexander Lukashenko:

“To confidently engage in dialogue with external partners, we first need to form their own highly developed market. Need to be strong and to speak with one voice. Then it will be easier to conduct a dialogue with the EU, China and others.” As for the common hydrocarbons market, it is the task of “beautiful far” (it is Expected that he will appear not earlier than 2025). Meanwhile, the participants have to deal with the common membership rules of registration, examination and marking of medicines. It was expected that they will be effective from 1 January 2016, however, who, as they say, is still there.

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