Vladimir Putin Describes New Integration Project for Eurasia

The new integration project for Eurasia – a future that is born today

January 1, 2012 launched the Common Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The integration processes, Vladimir Putin says in an article written specifically for the “News”

The new integration project for Eurasia - a future that is born todayphoto: RIA Novosti

January 1, 2012 launched a major integration project – the Common Economic Space of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. The project, which, without exaggeration, a historic landmark not only for our three countries but also for all post-Soviet states.

The path to this point has been difficult and at times tortuous. It started twenty years ago, when after the collapse of the Soviet Union was created Commonwealth of Independent States. By and large, has been found that the model that helped save civilization myriad, spiritual threads that unite our two peoples. Preserve industrial, economic and other ties, without which it is impossible to imagine our life.

There are various ways to evaluate the effectiveness of the CIS, endlessly speculate about its internal problems, the unfulfilled expectations. But it’s hard to argue with the fact that the Commonwealth remains an indispensable mechanism to bridge positions and to develop a unified view on the key issues facing our region, and produces a visible, concrete benefits to all participants.

Moreover, this experience has allowed us to start the CIS multilevel and multispeed integration in the post-create such popular formats as the Union State of Russia and Belarus, the Organization of Collective Security Treaty, the Eurasian Economic Community, Customs Union and finally, the Common Economic Space.

Characteristically, during the global financial crisis forced the state to seek new resources for economic growth, integration processes have received an additional boost. We have reached that objective, to seriously upgrade the principles of our partnership – both in the CIS and other regional associations. And focused primarily on the development of trade and production links.

In fact we are talking about turning integration into understandable and attractive to citizens and businesses, a stable and long-term project, which is independent of fluctuations in the current political and any other conditions.

Note that such a task was set at creation in 2000 of the EurAsEC. And ultimately, it is the logic of close, mutually beneficial cooperation and common understanding of the strategic national interests have led Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan to the formation of Customs Union.

July 1, 2011 at the internal borders of our three countries was made controlling the movement of goods, which completed the formation of a full common customs area with clear prospects for implementing the most ambitious business initiatives. Now, from the Customs Union we step to the single economic space. Create a huge market with more than 165 million consumers, with a uniform law, free movement of capital, services and labor.

It is crucial that the SES will be based on concerted action in key institutional areas – the macro economy, ensuring competition rules in the field of technical regulations and agricultural subsidies, transport, tariffs of natural monopolies. And then – and on a single visa and migration policy that would eliminate border controls at internal borders. That is a creative experience to apply the Schengen agreement, which became a boon not only for Europeans but for all who come to work, study or relax in the EU.

I should add that now do not need technical arrangement of seven thousand miles of Russian-Kazakh border. Moreover, it created a qualitatively new conditions for increased cross-border cooperation.

For the citizens of the removal of immigration, border and other barriers, so-called “employment quota” will mean the possibility of unrestricted choice where to live, receive education and work.Incidentally, in the USSR – with its Institute of residence – such freedom was not.

In addition, we significantly increase the amount of goods for personal consumption, which can be imported duty free, thus saving people from humiliating checks at customs posts.

Opportunities are opened for business. Talking about new and dynamic markets, which will operate common standards and requirements for goods and services, and in most cases aligned with European ones. This is important because now we all go to the current technical regulations and the agreed policy will allow us to avoid technology gaps, inconsistencies trivial products. Moreover, each of our countries, companies in every state – member of CES will actually enjoy all the benefits of local producers, including access to government contracts, and contracts.

Naturally, in order to gain a foothold in such an open market, businesses have to work on their efficiency, cut costs, invest in modernization. Consumers will benefit from this.

However, we can speak about the beginning of this “competition of jurisdictions,” the struggle for the entrepreneur. After all, every Russian, Kazakh, Belarusian businessman gets the right to choose – in which of the three countries he register his company, where to do business, where do the customs clearance of goods. This is a strong incentive for national bureaucracies to do the improvement of market institutions, administrative procedures, improving business and investment climate. In short, to eliminate those “bottlenecks”, and spaces to which previously did not get around to, to improve the legislation in line with best international and European practice.

At the time, Europeans took 40 years to go from the European Coal and Steel Community to full European Union. Becoming a Customs Union and Common Economic Space is much more dynamic, because the experience takes into account the EU and other regional associations. We see them and the strengths and weaknesses. And this is our obvious advantage to avoid errors, and prevent the reproduction of various bureaucratic canopies.

We are also in constant contact with leading business associations in the three countries. Discuss controversial issues and take into account the constructive criticism. In particular, it was a very useful discussion during the Business Forum of the Customs Union, which took place in Moscow in July this year.

I repeat: it is very important that the public of our countries, entrepreneurs perceived the integration project is not apical as bureaucratic game, but as absolutely a living organism, a good opportunity to implement initiatives and success.

Thus, in the interests of business have decided to start the codification of the legal framework of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space, that economic actors do not have to wade through the “forest” of many paragraphs, articles and reference rules. To use them would be sufficient only two basic documents – the Customs Code and codified agreement on Customs Union and Common Economic Space.

From 1 January 2012 to earn a full format and the Court of the EurAsEC. Apply to the court on all the facts relating to discrimination, breach of competition rules and equal conditions for business, will not only state but also the participants of economic life.

The principal feature of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space – is the existence of supranational institutions. They also fully applies this basic requirement, such as minimizing red tape and focus on the real interests of the citizens.

In our opinion, should increase the role of the Customs Union, which already has significant powers.At present there are about forty, and in the future – even within the EEA – is more than a hundred.This includes the authority to make some decisions on competition policy on technical regulations on subsidies. To solve such complex problems can only be through the creation of a full, permanent structure – a compact, professional and efficient. Therefore, Russia has put forward a proposal to establish the College of the CCC with the participation of representatives of the “troika”, which will operate in the capacity of independent, international civil servants.

Construction of the Customs Union and Single Economic Space provides the basis for the formation of the future of the Eurasian Economic Union. At the same time will go and the gradual expansion of the Customs Union member states and the EEA by a full connection to the work of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

We do not dwell on it and set an ambitious goal: to get to the next higher level of integration – the Eurasian Union.

What we see them, and outlines the prospects of this project?

First, we are not talking about that in one form or another to recreate the Soviet Union. It would be naive to try to restore or copy what is already relegated to the past, but the closer integration of the new value, political, economic basis – this is imperative.

We propose a model of powerful supranational union, able to become one of the poles of the modern world and play the role of an effective “binding” between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific region.In particular, this means that on the basis of the Customs Union and the EEA need to move to closer coordination of economic and monetary policies, to create a full economic union.

Addition of natural resources, capital, strong human capital will allow the Eurasian union to be competitive in the industrial and technological race in the competition for investors, with the creation of new jobs and innovative industries. And along with other key players and regional agencies – such as the EU, U.S., China and APEC – to ensure the sustainability of global development.

Second, the Eurasian Union will serve as a center for further integration. That is, will be formed by the gradual merging of the existing structures – the Customs Union and Single Economic Space.

Third, it would be wrong to oppose the Eurasian Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Each of these structures has its place and its role in post-Soviet space. Russia and its partners will actively work on improving the institutions of the Commonwealth, the saturation of its practical agenda.

In particular, we are talking about the launch of the CIS specific, clear, attractive initiatives and joint programs. For example, in energy, transportation, technology, social development. Great prospects for humanitarian cooperation in science, culture, education, the interaction in the regulation of labor markets, the creation of a civilized environment for migration. We got a large inheritance from the Soviet Union – this infrastructure, and current production specialization, and the general linguistic, scientific and cultural space. Share this resource for the development – in our common interest.

In addition, I am convinced that the economic foundation of the Commonwealth to become the most liberalized trade regime. On Russia’s initiative – as part of its chairmanship in the CIS in 2010 – a draft of a new treaty on free trade zone, which is based, by the way, on the principles of the World Trade Organization and aimed at the full withdrawal of all sorts of barriers. We look forward to significant progress in the harmonization of positions on the Treaty at a regular meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of Government to be held very soon – in October 2011.

Fourth, the Eurasian Union – is an open project. We welcome the accession of other partners, and above all the Commonwealth countries. It is not going to rush anyone or push. This should be a sovereign decision of the state, dictated by its own long-term national interests.

Here I would like to touch on one, in my opinion, very important topic. Some of our neighbors to explain the reluctance to participate in the advanced integration projects in the former Soviet Union that is alleged against their European choice.

I think this is a false bifurcation. We are not going to fence themselves off from anyone and anyone to resist. Eurasian alliance will be based on universal principles of integration as an integral part of Greater Europe, united by shared values ​​of freedom, democracy and market laws.

Back in 2003, Russia and the EU agreed to form a common economic space, the coordination rules of economic activity without creating a supranational structures. In support of this idea, we asked the Europeans together to think about creating a harmonious community of economies from Lisbon to Vladivostok, on free trade zone and even more advanced forms of integration. On the formation of a coherent policy in the sphere of industry, technology, energy, education and science. And finally, the lifting of visa barriers. These proposals do not hang in the air – they are discussed in detail their European counterparts.

Now interlocutor with the EU Customs will, and in the future and the Eurasian Union. Thus, the occurrence of a Eurasian Union, in addition to direct economic benefits that allow each of its members more quickly and in a stronger position to integrate into Europe.

In addition, the economically logical and balanced partnership system of the Eurasian Union and the EU is able to create real conditions for changing the geopolitical and geoeconomic configuration of the continent and would have a definite positive global effect.

Today it is clear that the global crisis in 2008, wore a structural nature. We are now seeing his acute relapses. The root of the problem – a backlog of global imbalances. It is very difficult in the process of developing post-crisis model of global development. For example, virtually stalled Doha round, there are objective difficulties within the WTO, is experiencing a serious crisis of the principle of free trade and open markets.

In our opinion, the solution may be to develop common approaches, what is called the “bottom”. At first – within the existing regional structures – the EU, NAFTA, APEC, ASEAN and others, and then – through dialogue between them. It is from such integration “building blocks” may get more sustainable global economy.

For example, the two largest associations of the continent – the European Union and the emerging Eurasian Union – basing their interaction on the rules of free trade and compliance management systems, objective, including through relationships with third countries and regional structures, are able to extend these principles to the whole space – from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. On the space that will be harmonious in its economic nature, but polycentric in terms of specific mechanisms and management decisions. Then it is logical to begin a constructive dialogue on the principles of interaction with the Asia-Pacific, North America and other regions.

In this regard, I note that the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have already started negotiations on a Free Trade Area with the European Free Trade Association. The agenda of the APEC forum, which will be held next year in Vladivostok, an important place will be the theme of trade liberalization, removing barriers to economic cooperation. Moreover, Russia will promote a common, agreed position of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space.

Thus, our integration project is entering a qualitatively new level, opens up broad prospects for economic development, creates a competitive advantage. Such joint efforts will enable us not only to fit into the global economy and trading system, but also to participate meaningfully in decision-making process, defining the rules of the game and determine the contours of the future.

I am convinced that the creation of a Eurasian Union, the effective integration – is the path that will enable its participants to take their rightful place in the complex world of the XXI century. Only together can our countries are able to enter one of the leaders of global growth and civilization progress, success and prosperity.

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