Are relations between the EU and the EAEU possible?
By Vestnik Kavkaza
The EU remains a key partner of the Eurasian Union, Victor Khristenko, the head of the Eurasian Economic Commission, has recently said. According to him, “we are still interested in a systemic dialogue with the EU and don’t reject implementation of the idea of a united space from Vladivostok to Lisbon.” After stiffening of sanctions against Russia, the Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel stated that the EU was ready to discuss trade issues with the Eurasian Economic Union.
Aleksey Pushkov, chairman of the State Duma Committee on Foreign Relations, speaks about possible relations between the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union: “The European Union has a dilemma: what kind of relations do they want to have with the Eurasian Economic Union? Angela Merkel has recently stated that Berlin and the European Union are interested in starting a dialogue in regard to this formation. I think that this position is sensible and reasonable. This economic formation functions on the vast territory of Eurasia. It is obvious that it will be extended. Now it is about 180 million people, but it is a very significant economic factor.”
Speaking about the advantages of the EAEU, Pushkov noted: “First, it is a huge market. Secondly, it is a big investment market, i.e. it is a space for investment opportunity. Secondly, there is the well-known resource potential of the EEU. Above all, I mean Kazakhstan, not only Russia, first and foremost. Therefore, I think that from the strategic viewpoint, relations between the EU and the EEU are objectively unavoidable. It is another matter that the current policy prevents this a little bit. In fact, it is the same information war, the viscosity of the political situation, when relations among Moscow and many EU countries are restricted.”
According to the MP, “some leaders agree to a compromise, for example, Orban, Renzi, Hollande, to a lesser degree – Merkel. But it is improper and maybe even inappropriate to speak about meetings with Cameron or the president of Poland. We should wait until this negative cycle ends.”
Pushkov is sure that the most reasonable European politicians are thinking about what to do in this new economic reality: “It is impossible to ignore it. It means that if something is operating successfully but you ignore it, it means that you ignore your own interests. I'll manage without you, but you will lose. So I think that Merkel expressed a sufficiently consolidated opinion. I underline that it is less ideologized in comparison to some European politicians. I do not know what Grzegorz Schetyna, the Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs, thinks about it, as he is in the habit of finding expressions that could sting Russia as much as possible. I don't even know if he has enough time for other things. I am not sure about that. But I am sure about what people think about it in Berlin, Paris, Rome, Madrid, Budapest and in the majority of other European countries.”