Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko signs Eurasian Economic Union treaty

The treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia was signed in Astana on May 29. Presidents Alexander Lukashenko, Nursultan Nazarbayev and Vladimir Putin put their signatures on the document, reports the program News "24 Hours" on CTV.

The signing of the agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union is a historic moment, the peak of integration. Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan did much to make this meeting happen. They were particularly active in the last five years.

The ceremony was held in Astana's Palace of Independence. As the summit host, Nursultan Nazarbayev greets guests in the lobby.

Working on a common integration project the leaders see each other frequently. Since autumn they have met approximately every two months. Alexander Lukashenko has recently shed light on the nature of negotiations: they are complex and sometimes very tough. The sides had to do their best to reach a compromise.

The three states oblige to guarantee the free movement of goods, services, capital and labor and implement coordinated policies in the key sectors: energy, industry, agriculture and transport.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus: 
We, as the 'assembly shop' of the Soviet Union, as no one else felt the need to restore economic ties in the former Soviet Union. We were ready, taking into account the interests of everyone, not to destroy the regional system of the division of labor. Moreover, we were ready to create a system where we would not compete, but complement each other. 
However, achieving this noble goal proved to be a very complex and lengthy process. How many opponents have we had? They were both in the West, and in the so-called 'near abroad.'  Some were against this in our own countries! And not only among the opposition (it is their profession to criticize everything) but also among some government officials and bureaucrats, especially liberals. We had to listen to many allegations! They said that integration is the recreation of the Soviet empire, and that it means the loss of sovereignty. 
Perhaps Belarus was the most criticized state here. Even now the press is making a fuss shouting 'Lukashenko calls for concessions,' Minsk bargains for bonuses!"... I am quoting now. Some say that Russia or Kazakhstan will once again shoulder the burden of Belarus' economic problems. 
I want to tell those people: 'Gentlemen, calm down!' We, together with Russia and Kazakhstan, participate in the collective and equitable process, and if someone ahs to shoulder the burden of somebody, this will also be on the reciprocal basis. This is our friendly alliance. The Soviet Union fell apart when the union republics suddenly decided that they "feed", someone and they could live better without doing it. Belarus requires no concessions. All of us contribute to the integration with something in which everyone is interested.

Belarus has consistently supported the four freedoms of the Eurasian economic union, which should be free from any restrictions. Initially, Russia offered this format. Kazakhstan supported it. 

Belarusians were not afraid of disparity in economies. The Belarusian economy, unlike that in Russia and Kazakhstan, is not based on raw materials. The union requires equal access to energy sources. It is not easy to open your markets.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus: 
We deliberately worked to sign the agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union. We defended our interests until the end and respected the position of partners, conducted a thorough analysis of the document and pointed out its positive sides. But I cannot help but say that there is some dissatisfaction. We still have the opportunity to improve our arrangements. It will guarantee the mutual benefit for all the parties to the treaty.

According to experts, the union will give good economic benefits by reducing the prices of goods and thanks to the reduction of expenditures, competition and the growth in demand and production. The overall GDP growth is forecast to total $900 billion by 2030.

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation: 
Today we create a powerful and attractive center of economic development and a large regional market, which brings together more than 170 million people. Our Union has huge reserves of natural resources, including energy-related ones. It accounts for a fifth of the world's gas reserves and almost 15% of the world's oil reserves. 
At the same time, the troika countries have developed industries, the industrial base and powerful human, intellectual and cultural potential. The geographical location allows us to create transport and logistics routes, not only of regional but also of global importance.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan:
The essential point is that the principle of consensus is introduced at all levels of decision-making. Thus, the voice of each country will be decisive.

This year was a busy one for experts in the three countries. They had to work on the treaty much literally polishing it. Sergei Rumas supervised this work from the Belarusian side. 

There were some energy market issues. It has been decided that it will be formed by 2025. For now, some points have not been covered by the treaty. Thus, in the issues pertaining to oil and oil products, Belarus and Russia resolve issues in bilateral contacts.

In parallel with the summit, deputy ministers signed documents to coordinate the supply of oil and new rules concerning the duties. It is expected that in 2015, the Belarusian budget will keep $1.5 billion of customs duties on the export of petroleum products made in Belarus from Russian oil. The agreement is designed for a long term almost until the formation of the single market. 

Vladimir Sizov, Acting Deputy Chairman of the Belneftekhim board: 
Until this period, it was very important for us to determine the volumes of oil supplies for the transition period. We needed this in order to have a stable load on our refining capacity, work effectively, have an affordable price in the domestic market, and replenish the budget thanks to oil exports. Therefore, a bilateral agreement has been signed today. It regulates the volumes of oil supplies to Belarusian refineries, including 22 million tons via pipeline transport in 2015. The total volume of supply is 23 million tonnes. Beginning with 2014, these volumes will increase. Shipments will total 24 million tonnes, including 23 million tons via pipelines.

Dmitry Kiyko, Deputy Finance Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
The Republic of Belarus makes these transfers to the budget of the Russian Federation in full. Every year, this amount stands at $3.5-4 billion, which, of course, is quite sensitive. The Belarusian side interprets such a mechanism as an opportunity to gradually abolish the practice of transferring export duties to the Russian budget.

The troika could may turn into a union of five states. There is a reason why the presidents of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan have been invited to this meeting.

It took Armenia less than a year to go through a roadmap for accession to the Customs Union troika. All the procedures have been carried out quite quickly there. The issues of Armenia's accession should be resolved before July 1. 2014. Kyrgyzstan will have to undergo the same procedures now. The laws of that country should be adapted to the Customs Union legal framework.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus: 
If you fulfill all the conditions, you are welcome. We are happy to welcome these countries and, as Kyrgyzstan's president said, celebrate the New Year together.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan:
Today it is important to look beyond the horizon and define a strategy for further actions for at least 15-20 years ahead. It is important to understand that in H1 of the 21st century, the primary mission of our union lies in two important aspects. 
First, it is to become one of the key economic macro-regions of the world. It gives us natural competitive advantages and the quality of a geo-economic bridge between East and West, Europe and Asia. 
Secondly, we should ensure that each of the participating countries in the union get the status of the developed country. The Eurasian Economic Union must not become a burden but a blessing to the nations, states and our national economies.

The Presidents agreed that the Eurasian Commission will be headquartered in Moscow. The Eurasian Court will be located in Minsk, while the supranational financial regulator will be in Almaty (it will be established within 10 years).

The signing ceremony was held the ceremonial hall.

Alexander Lukashenko, Vladimir Putin and Nursultan Nazarbayev finally put their signatures on the treaty. This means that the formation of the large common market is nearing completion. It is estimated at 170 million people, which suggests that an important player will appear in the world.    

The treaty is large. As many as 700 pages outline the legal status of the new union in detail. The provisions include matters related to customs and foreign trade policy and taxes.

Sergei Rumas, member of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus: 
We managed to agree on a number of sensitive products on a bilateral basis.It pertains more to the Russian Federation than to Kazakhstan. Today we have signed two protocols. We agreed that the budget of the Republic of Belarus will keep $1.5 billion of export duties from 2015.

The Belarusian side interprets such a mechanism as an opportunity to gradually abolish the practice of transferring export duties to the Russian budget.

The maximum objective was to completely abolish the transfer of export duties on the corresponding products to the budget of the Russian Federation from 2015, which is in principle the essence of the economic union. 

However, since this issue is quite sensitive for both Belarus and Russia, the formation of a common market has been postponed. Therefore, the signing of the treaty can be regarded as the first stage of work to achieve relations without these restrictions.

The agreement must be ratified by the parliaments of the three countries. It will enter into force on 1 January 2015. Each leader addressed the press afterwards. 

More: Belarus ratifies EEU treaty October 9, 2014

Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus:
This is the document, on which we pinned great hopes, and Belarus has always had a clear stance here articulating its goals and objectives in the Eurasian integration. Everyone knows our priorities. 
We sincerely and honestly declared what exactly sometimes caused discontent among some circles in our states. Given the work that has been done to prepare the treaty, including at the level of the heads of state, Belarus put its signature on this global instrument today. We are ready for gradual and compulsory progress towards the full implementation of the agreements reached during a very difficult negotiation process. 
However, it is necessary to state that the solution of a number of issues of economic cooperation, primarily related to trade between the member states, has been postponed.
I do not want this joint work to stall, I want us to keep moving. The signing of the agreement today is not the end of the process. I would say this is the beginning of a serious process, and we should prove to ourselves, the whole world and, first of all, to our peoples that we made right steps in this direction. 
In order to address the issues that we faced in the future we declare that steps to develop the Eurasian Economic Union must be linked to the solution of problems that have a significant impact on trade between the member states of this union.
We believe that in the future, the economic union will be the foundation of our political, military and humanitarian unity.

Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan:
We combine our economic potential for the prosperity of our peoples. Primarily, the union is economic in its nature and does not pertain to the independence of political sovereignty of the states parties to the integration process. 
The idea of ​​Eurasian integration was supported by the leaders of Russia, President Vladimir Putin and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. It has allowed us to come to this day when we sign the treaty.

Vladimir Putin, President of the Russian Federation:
The agreement that we have signed is a landmark and historic event. It opens up broad prospects for economic development and the welfare of our citizens. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan move to a new level of interaction. They create a common space with the free movement of goods, services, capital and labor. The states of the "troika" will pursue a coordinated policy in the key sectors: energy, industry, agriculture and transport. This is not easy work and still it is difficult to agree on all these issues, sometimes with disputes (I do not want to say 'scandals' but it's more like intense disputes and heated debates). 
But it all happened (and I'm sure will be happening in the future) on the basis of mutual understanding and the desire to reach a compromise that is acceptable for everyone.

After difficult negotiations it was decided to spend the evening at the State Opera and Ballet Theater of Kazakhstan. A solemn concert was given there. A year ago, the presidents visited the theater and back then, it was still under construction.  The day ended with the official reception on behalf of the Kazakh President.

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