Integration triumph: Russia to seek political fusion? (video)


Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan are establishing another Union – the Eurasian Economic Union: the countries’ leaders have signed the appropriate agreement. Vladimir Putin regards the event as a milestone one. But the Belarusian leader is not satisfied with its contents.

According to the leaders, this was just the first step on the way to further integration. But only the day before signing the Treaty Aliaksandr Lukashenka was much less optimistic over it. Why has Lukashenka signed the document which fails to meet Belarus’s interests?

English subs:

{movie}Integration triumph: Russia to seek superiority? (ENG subs)|right|16739{/movie}

VALER KARBALEVICH, political analyst:

‘If this were not the case, Belarus wouldn’t have oil and gas at preference prices. The issue of preference prices is of strategic importance to Belarus and its economy. The economy of Belarus never survives at the world’s gas and oil prices.’

Although restrictions on a number of Belarusian goods won’t be lifted until 2015, the oil problem seems to be resolved: in the next 10 years common oil products market is to be created. But Minsk’s stance is rather closer to Astana’s than to Moscow’s in this Union. Why?

ALIAKSANDR SINKEVICH, economist:

‘Kazakhstan and Belarus aim to jointly tackle their economic problems. But Russia is uninterested in it, it is not going to share the Soviet Union’s heritage. Some contradictions do exist, but since Russia has been politically isolated after the Crimean campaign it is not able to dictate its terms.’

After signing the Treaty the issue of Ukraine was brought up as well. Aliaksandr Lukashenka was sorry about the absence of Ukraine’s representative but expressed confidence that Ukraine would get back on integration track. The Belarusian leader also described its vision of long-term future of the union.

ALIAKSANDR LUKASHENKA:

‘We believe that the economic union will become a foundation of our political, military and humanitarian unity.’

At that, the leaders of the troika stressed that the agreement would not affect the participants’ state sovereignty, because the agreement is ‘economic’. But Moscow is not likely to stop luring Belarus into a kind of political union.

VALER KARBALEVICH, political analyst:

‘A political aspect is crucial for Russia, it wants to keep the countries of the former USSR under control.’

And it can give cheap oil in exchange. The agreement is expected to give opportunities of legal working in the partners’ territory and expanding market, but at the same time, the document will lead to fierce competition: Belarus is the only of three participants that won’t be a member of the World Trade Organisation.

ALIAKSANDR SINKEVICH, economist:

‘Our industry will be exposed to risk, because we don’t have WTO’s privileges. At the same time, we open our border and market to the whole world.’

On January 1, 2015 the agreement is come into force on the Customs Union territory, and the Belarusians will wake up in a bit different country.

Usevalad Shlykau, In Focus

www.belsat.eu/en

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