06/01 11:07

Xinhua: EEU to unify, boost Eurasia despite challenges

MOSCOW, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- The founding of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) is a first step toward a more unified Eurasian region, Alexander Gusev, director of the Center for Strategic Development of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Countries, has said.

"Based on the Customs Union (CU) and Common Economic Space, the EEU is only the starting point of the big work of creating a unified Eurasian Union," Gusev told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

The EEU is a regional organization founded by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. It officially came into effect on Wednesday, and was enlarged on the following day by Armenia's accession.

The EEU's main objectives are to form a single market, create more opportunities for the free movement of goods, services, investment and labor forces within the borders of the member countries by 2025, as well as introduce a coordinated economic policy.

The establishment of the EEU has already brought tangible benefits to its member states, said Gusev, adding that low gas prices from Russian energy producers, as well as favorable conditions for economic development and customs, are guaranteed to member states.

The EEU is an important step for Russia to fulfill the dream of a unified Eurasia, and an energetic booster to other economic or political associations in the region like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and China's Silk Road Economic Belt initiative, Gusev said, noting that the EEU and the Silk Road Economic Belt are not competitors.

"The initiative of Silk Road aims to integrate Central Asian countries into a common economic space," which is welcomed by the EEU members, Gusev said.

Moscow and Beijing can work together to promote economic development, social stability and regional security in Central Asia and Eurasia, added Gusev.

While stressing the EEU has a bright future, Gusev also warned that there is a bumpy road ahead.

The EEU would face two major problems, namely, the creation of supranational organs and the introduction of a single currency, Gusev said, adding that the creation of the supranational organs needs the member states to get prepared to delegate certain powers, and the introduction of a single currency in the EEU requires cooperation on various levels between the governments, financial institutions and parliaments of the member states.

"The two problems should be resolved positively to consolidate the common space. But so far there's no common opinion on these issues. Time is needed for that," said Gusev.

Gusev further mentioned that the sanctions imposed by the West on Russia will probably bring negative effects on other EEU members, even if they are "independent countries with independent trade".

There are reports showing that national currencies of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, which will also join the EEU in the near future, have suffered significant depreciation under the influence of the ruble's tumbling.

Moreover, amid an unfavorable economic situation in Russia, the unemployment and backflow of immigrated labor force would pose latent threats on both social and economic securities of other EEU member states.

Nevertheless, although there are many difficulties to overcome, it is believed that the EEU will develop into "a powerful hub of the entire region's growth" with huge potential in economic cooperation and development.


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