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Eurasian experts about EAEU: Union has high potential for development and growth

Eurasian experts about EAEU: Union has high potential for development and growth

10/15/2019

The near future challenges for the effective functioning of the Union include the need to implement major infrastructure projects, develop a system of strategic forward planning in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), formulate a single strategy for all countries, conduct agreed policies, form a common humanitarian space and expand the Eurasian agenda by including such spheres as tourism, science, education, sports and culture. This was concluded by representatives of the EAEU countries’ expert community.

Tigran Sargsyan, Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Board, held a Scientific Expert Panel (SEP) with the involvement of the EAEU States’ experts.

The Council under the Chairman of the EEC Board is a platform for open discussions, mutual information and feedback on key issues of the Eurasian integration.

The SEP has discussed outcomes of the five-year functioning of the EAEU. The decision of the Union leaders on creating the EAEU allowed settling down in life together. The main achievement in these five years is formation of a new interaction culture. The unique implementation mechanism of national sovereignty within the Eurasian Economic Union has been created, wherefore no more powerful tool could be imagined - the expert community concluded.

The Scientific Expert Panel participants noted the successes achieved by the Eurasian Economic Union as well as highlighted overarching challenges available in the EAEU, analyzed the impact of global trends in developing the integration association and proposed ways to solve these problems.

The level of social and economic development of the Union countries varies, but it has an objective character. A fundamental solution to the problem is to harmonize legislation. To authorize the EEC to monitor the process is among the proposals offered by the participants. Besides, it is proposed to develop a planning and forecasting tool within the framework of cooperation with the Russian Academy of Sciences.

According to experts, a formed common customs territory and available common market of goods, services and labor can be identified among the EAEU achievements. The Union has established a level playing field, including in the sphere of technical regulation, a common customs tariff and protective measures are being operated, an important decision was made on the compliance of the EAEU norms with the standards of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) Institute was introduced.

The EAEU is recognized as an international legal entity, and in terms of integration depth, although it is a young integration association the Eurasian Economic Union ranks second after the European Union, which has been operating for more than 50 years.

The Union successfully develops trade and economic relations with third countries and integration associations. Trade negotiation mechanisms operate effectively. Memorandums of Cooperation have been concluded with such integration associations as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), the Pacific Alliance, the Andean Community and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The same document will be signed with the African Union in the near future. The EAEU credits include an Interim Agreement leading to an FTA with Iran and Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation with China, which come into force in October this year, FTA Agreements with Vietnam and Singapore, and signing of a similar Agreement with Serbia.

In 2015, the EAEU expanded its boundaries – two new members joined the Union – Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, due to which the management structures became richer, decision-making processes became more balanced, experts note.

The whole world is in a situation of uncertainty, rising protectionism, trade and currency wars. Nevertheless, according to experts, the EAEU has a unique opportunity to establish ties under current conditions. This is a chance for the Union countries, which need new markets and economic growth.

The experts recommended to further expand the EAEU partners’ network, including at the expense of the ASEAN Members and the organization itself as well as to ensure legal standing of the EAEU in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international organizations, coordinate their positions at the venues of these structures and international forums, participate in the same coalitions and vote synchronously if possible. All this will strengthen the legal standing of the Union.

In 2016, the Union has a new focus – “digital technology”. The EAEU announced the transition of economies to a new technological wave and digital transformation. The Union needs joint digital projects, common rules and standards for all integration associations.

The discussion participants drew attention to insufficient consolidation of the EAEU States, lack of integration projects that would implement the Union countries together. In this regard, the countries should blend forces and pay special attention to science and technology.

According to them, major infrastructure projects should be implemented by the EAEU separate institution. And the Union needs a source of its own income to implement integration projects.

The discussion participants also suggested the EEC to intensify cooperation with the business community, expand the range of cooperation formats and think about projects, including for small and medium-sized businesses.

There is a problem of differences in national legislation. The problem can be solved by converging regulation and using the practice of implementing supranational regulation at the national level. The decision-making mechanism should be reviewed as well as more competencies should be assigned to the EEC in order to make the Commission act more effectively. And the problem of non-integration can be eliminated through implementing Agreements. At the same time, all clauses of the Treaty on the EAEU must be fulfilled. This will be facilitated by measures to improve discipline within the Union, assigning the Commission with functions to monitor the implementation of supranational decisions, rules and regulations. Decisions should be implemented and initiatives that the countries can offer to the world community, especially on the “digital technology”, should be promoted.

According to the discussion participants, it is required to unify the system of public administration, build effective interaction between relevant chairmen of the countries’ parliaments.

The sphere of services and online deliveries is immature, there are separate questions on standardization, certification, antitrust laws and the system of recognition by experts, there are non-tariff barriers for deliveries to the common market of perishable production - vegetables and fruit. It is required to implement automatic recognition of veterinary certificates in order to create a market without exemptions and restrictions.

The use of potential of rail transport within the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and the need to create a common transit system and accelerate the integration between customs e-systems are among the issues to be addressed.

The Eurasian agenda should be expanded to include such spheres as tourism, science, education, sports and culture. The EAEU future lies in the common humanitarian space, increase of programs for developing cooperation and joint research.

It is also required to develop a system of strategic forward planning in the EAEU, to formulate a single strategy for all countries, to harmonize, to pay attention to implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, problems of global warming and developing low hydrogen economy.

Nuclear energy, renewable energy sources, creation of transport corridors, use of water resources and the environment should be other themes to be developed.