Is cooperation of Tbilisi and Baku with EEU possible?
Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei proposed the European Union to put relations "on a normal legal basis." He told this to reporters after the EU Council session, attended by the heads of the Foreign Ministries of the "Eastern Partnership" countries, RIA Novosti reported. "Currently, we are guided by the agreement that was signed between the Soviet Union and the European Economic Community in 1989," Makei stated, adding that today the situation has changed. Minsk proceeds from the fact that Belarus should not violate its commitments in the framework of the EEU, the Union State and other integrational unions. At the session in Brussels, Makei supported the revision of the European neighbourhood policy and welcomed greater emphasis on "differentiation, stabilization and economic development." The topic of competition policy in integrational processes will also be discussed at the IX Astana Economic Forum, which will be held tomorrow.
Meanwhile, according to the director of the International Institute of Newest States, Alexey Martynov, the expert community actively discusses the prospects of the Eurasian integration of the South Caucasus. "Armenia is the only country of the South Caucasus so far that is a rightful, fully-fledged member of the EEU today. Armenia was the first to follow this logical path, which, in my opinion, has no alternatives. We clearly see how other attempts to involve the countries of the South Caucasus in different integrational formats ended. It does not work, it does not lead to the development of the South Caucasus. Moreover, the activity of such projects leads to the fact that the dividing lines between the countries and nations in the region are becoming clearer and stricter. And this, of course, does not contribute to mutual development," Martynov stated.
According to him, it is likely that, following Armenia, Georgia will be the next to join the Eurasian integration: "Today, it does not sound as realistic as it should. But the majority of Georgian citizens remember how they lived in a different format of the large Soviet country, when everything was great, they remember what happened next, when the Soviet state began to weaken, how regional conflicts erupted, how the region plunged into the abyss of wars, destruction, how the economies of the former Soviet republics, and now independent states, have collapsed."
Martynov also expressed the opinion that in the long term, in some way, Azerbaijan will also be associated with the EEU: "This is due to geography, tradition, it's just a logic of security provision, including of our own state."
During the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council session, the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Karim Massimov reminded that as a priority of its presidency of the Intergovernmental Council, Kazakhstan proposed to declare 2016 "a year of deepening economic relations of the Union with third countries and key integrational unions." In this connection, the sides study the feasibility of establishing free trade zones with countries like India, Israel, Egypt, Iran and others. As the head of the Kazakh government believes, it is necessary "to focus on cooperation with economically developed and investment attractive countries and unions." According to him, the establishment of cooperation between the EEU and the EU may become an important factor of the economic development of the continent as a whole.