EAEU Defines Development and Expansion Priorities in Bishkek
The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) defined priorities for their development and expansion at separate top-level meetings in Bishkek April 14.
The meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (SEEC) was attended by the presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Russia, as well as Chair of the Collegium of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Tigran Sargsyan. President of Moldova Idor Dodon also took part by invitation.
The main macroeconomic policies of EAEU states for 2017 – 2018 were approved at the meeting. The policies agreed upon include significant measures to improve the macroeconomic situation, stimulate the corporate sector to increase investment and promote non-primary exports.
A temporary agreement was also adopted on forming a free trade zone between the EAEU and its member states and Iran.
Meeting participants also reviewed the implementation of EAEU economic policies over the past three years.
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev reviewed key contractual and legal aspects of the implementation of the EAEU treaty signed three years ago in Astana, and commented on how the young organisation was faced immediately with both global economic and geopolitical challenges.
“All of this has affected our organisation’s performance... However, crises are not eternal and recessions are followed by growth,” Nazarbayev said.
He stressed that despite the difficult conditions, most EAEU member states showed improved economic indicators last year.
“Particular optimism is prompted by the statistics of the beginning of 2017. The first months of this year showed the volume of EAEU foreign trade has increased by 37 percent and mutual trade by 38 percent,” Nazarbayev noted.
This trend must be supported, he said, by removing obstacles to trade and working with international partners.
“First, it is important to remove all existing obstacles for EAEU development. Secondly, new trade and economic agreements should be established with international partners to expand sales markets and increase investment. Thirdly, in this difficult period for our economies it is necessary to provide mutual support. Fourthly, the Anti-Crisis Council can be a good tool for overcoming crises,” Nazarbayev said.
Kazakhstan has proposed creating a Council of Ministers of Economy and Finance and facilitating more coordination among the heads of central banks of EAEU countries.
“The council will advise the EAEU authorities on financial and economic policies of member states and on the development of concerted measures to prevent crises. Its work will be aimed at implementing joint activities to ensure economic growth and financial stability. The work of this council will be similar to the activity of the Council for Financial Stability under the G20 and ECOFIN of the European Commission,” Nazarbayev said.
The meeting also discussed granting EAEU observer status, finding much interest from third countries, and in particular the appeal of Moldova for such status. A decision was taken to assign the Eurasian Economic Commission, the Union’s secretariat, with devising a procedure for accepting observer states.
At the informal meeting of CSTO member states on the same day, deepening cooperation in security by developing the organisation was discussed by the presidents of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan, as well as acting CSTO Secretary General Valery Semirikov.
Meeting members also approved a new secretary general for the organisation, Yuri Khachaturov.
Nazarbayev congratulated the meeting participants on the 25th anniversary of the organisation, emphasising its importance in ensuring national and regional security and in strengthening the integrity of participating states. He also touched upon expanding the zone of cooperation between the CSTO and other international security institutions and organisations.
CSTO members considered the possibility of consolidating efforts to address regional and global challenges.