Belarusian Prime Minister Ihar Petryshenka is critical of the current state of the Eurasian integration: according to him, one cannot call the EEU ‘economic union’, but just a free trade zone.
“At the moment, one can call our integration association ‘economic’ only in advance. We are de facto only at the level of a free trade zone. It is impossible to simultaneously build a common market and preserve national actors’ privileged position; otherwise it is not a common market, but just trade between countries. Launching the integration process, we presumed that the sides would consider each other’s goods and as their own, which is hardly in evidence now,” the top official said in an interview with the Belarusian newspaper Zvyazda.
In his opinion, there are too many exceptions in the operation of the common customs space; the customs transit freedom is still limited. The Deputy Prime Minister also slammed the EEU normative practices stating that Belarus is trying to deepen liberalization and improve its business climate while new regulatory measures that set obstacles to businesses are being introduced in the EEU.
“Instead of solving the urgent problems of production and trade we are persistently invited to a brighter future, i.e. to the world of cooperation in space, nuclear, digital sectors. But we should not let new slogans and new fields disguise the lack of progress in the spheres on the development of which we agreed long time ago,” he warned.
Belarusian president Alyaksandr Lukashenka is known for his attempts to protecting national interests and calls for lifting restrictions in Belarus-Russia trade at EEU summits and meetings.