Press Conferences

19 may, 2011 22:09

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is joined by his Belarusian and Kazakhstani counterparts for a news conference following the meetings of the EurAsEC Interstate Council and the Supreme Body of the Customs Union

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is joined by his Belarusian and Kazakhstani counterparts for a news conference following the meetings of the EurAsEC Interstate Council and the Supreme Body of the Customs Union
“Russia is firmly committed to working in this direction just as effectively as it did over the last two years, during which it essentially changed the paradigm of post-Soviet integration,” said the Russian prime minister.


Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen,

We have had a busy and fruitful day with a meeting of the Council of CIS Heads of Government and meetings in the EurAsEC Interstate Council and the Supreme Body of the Customs Union. The press was informed separately about the decisions made under the rubric of the Commonwealth of Independent States, so I will now report on the basic topics discussed by EurAsEC and the Customs Union.

My colleagues and I had a detailed discussion of issues pertaining to the development of our cooperation and integration, and we exchanged information on the socio-economic situations in our respective countries. We also analysed our countries' progress through the most trying stages of the global economic crisis.

We should note that when the crisis was at its peak, the EurAsEC countries worked smoothly and as a team in effectively drafting and implementing a package of anti-crisis measures. Last year, we consolidated a trend of improvement in practically all key macroeconomic indices, including increases in industrial output, investment in fixed capital, and so forth.

We have no intention of resting on our laurels now, and we will continue working to create the best possible conditions for business and economic activity. Our top priorities include the establishment of the EurAsEC Court – a specialised international judicial body for settling commercial and economic disputes. I think this decision is of critical importance because it concerns an essential element [of integration] without which any integrated structure cannot function normally. In the absence of a common court of law, it would be impossible to settle disputes and engage in normal economic activities. This point concerns not only our national companies but all those who operate within the jurisdiction of EurAsEC.

The meeting of the Customs Union also focused on the practical aspects of its full-fledged operation. I ask the media to pay particular attention to the following point: we analysed the shift of customs and other control from our interstate borders to the border of the Customs Union itself and assessed our readiness for this shift as well as its possible results. The managers of customs offices and sanitary inspections reported that they were prepared for the shift on July 1, as scheduled. All this is necessary for the Common Economic Space to come into force on January 1, 2012.

We are creating a common market with unified legislation and mutually coordinated social and economic policies – a market that will harmoniously use its member states' technical and cultural resources. This is quite a different level of integration than that towards which we were striving ten years ago. When we established EurAsEC, we said that we would attain the goals we are now acknowledging. The results will doubtlessly bring sizeable benefits to all the nations involved and make our markets more attractive to investors.

I would like to emphasise that the Customs Union and the emerging Common Economic Space are equally open to those partners who would like to join us. I am confident that we can fully use the potential of integration to create new jobs, promote trade, support joint infrastructure-oriented projects, and cooperate in industry and high technologies. Special attention should be paid to modernisation and improvement through innovation. We must pool our efforts as we work together to make our economies more competitive.

I would like to say in conclusion that Russia is firmly committed to working in this direction just as effectively as it did over the last two years, during which it essentially changed the paradigm of post-Soviet integration.

I remember how we used to talk and talk but nothing practical ever came of it. Today, things are quite different – I stress that again. We are eager to see – and I am, personally – that our CIS partners are coming to realise the benefits of closer integration, assess the current structures for its development – primarily the Customs Union and the eventual Common Economic Space – and take part in that process.

By 2013, we have set the goal of establishing an economic union of our countries with a common approach to resolving social and economic issues, common principles, uniform rules, and identical legislation.

Thank you for your attention. I’m very grateful to our experts who have carried out an enormous amount of work over the past year and a half or two years. They have done very much, indeed. When we started this work, I didn’t even believe it could have been completed at all because there were so many sensitive issues. However, we made it – no doubt, with political support in both Belarus and Kazakhstan. Thank you very much. 

Mikhail Myasnikovich (Prime Minister of Belarus): Thank you!

Ladies and gentlemen, as you know, the new Common Economic Space will be established at year’s end, and all economic agents and regulators in our countries should be fully ready for this.

Minsk notes that all steps taken today conform to the Customs Union’s development strategy. It is very important that EurAsEC is also elaborating mechanisms for balancing out the interests of its members and setting an anticycle role of regulation.

Mr Putin, I’d like to use this opportunity to thank you and your Russian colleagues for supplying us with money from the EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund to carry out the Belarusian rouble project and counter rush demand on the domestic market. We are confident that in the near future, Belarus will establish a real rate for its domestic currency without any speculation or devaluationexpectations. .

This is important not only for Belarusian companies but also for our trade partners. We must make sure that the higher competitiveness of our export prices as a result of currency adjustment does not undermine the sensitive economic positions of our partners in the Customs Union.

We believe that in time the Russian rouble could become the real reserve currency, all the more so if prices on Russian energy resources are set in roubles and in Moscow rather than in dollars or euros somewhere in Rotterdam. That sounds more reasonable, doesn’t it?

We have attentively studied Russia’s proposals and confirmed our readiness to develop commercial relations in the Common Economic Space along the lines of the WTO. We are ready to move forward with EurAsEC statute issues under universally accepted principles as well. We proposed and obtained support for our  Belarusian proposals to step up the formation of the EurAsEC Innovation Policy Institute, the High-Tech Centre, and the Eurasian Development Bank. This could be the foundation for our mutually beneficial and collective strategy of technological progress.

Mr Putin emphasised that the EurAsEC Court will come into force in Minsk on January 1, 2012. We have endorsed a specific plan for its operation today and will use European approaches to the resolution of disputes within EurAsEC.

Karim Massimov (Prime Minister of Kazakhstan): First of all, I’d like to thank our Belarusian partners for organising today’s three major events in such a warm and welcoming atmosphere.

The first one was the meeting of the CIS heads of government. During the course of the meeting, we made many important decisions. I’d like to make special mention of one of them and thank my colleagues, the prime ministers of CIS countries, and primarily Mr Putin for it. I’m referring to the support of a Kazakh candidate  for the position of IMF managing director. CEO of the National Bank of Kazakhstan Grigory Marchenko is now our common nominee.

After making this decision, we started talks with a number of countries – first of all, developing markets and BRIC nations, including China, India, Brazil and South Africa, to name but a few – to gather support for a common nominee representing emergent markets. I think that the time has come for international monetary institutions to hear the voice of developing markets.

We also adopted a number of important and concrete decisions at today’s EurAsEC meeting. For the first time, we took part in a new process: consultations on admitting new members [to the Customs Union], notably Kyrgyzstan. This republic has expressed its desire to join the Customs Union, and we are about to begin consultations on this issue. I think that our nascent association, the Customs Union, has already proved its efficiency. It is beneficial for our companies and compatriots. Today we discussed its pros and cons thus far and what we can and must do to improve our performance.

In practical terms, Kazakhstan appreciates the fact that its customs border with Russia will shift to the Customs Union perimeter on July 1, 2011. This will help our companies and give us an opportunity to make full use of our potential for promoting trade and bilateral ties in general.

Mr Putin, when you made the decision to move forward on June 9, 2009 – I often mention this date –, we started to make real progress along this road. It is hard to believe that in two years’ time we could achieve such results, but we did, largely owing to political will and the high performance of our expert groups.

I share the view that we need a EurAsEC court. This is the element we lacked. Disputes may arise between different countries’ companies at any time, and we need a legitimate instrument to deal with them.

January 1, 2012 is not far off. We must complete all the preliminary procedures (for the establishment of the Common Economic Space) by January 1, 2012. Belarus has already done so, and Russia and Kazakhstan will adopt the corresponding measures in their parliaments before long. The Common Economic Space will become effective on January 1, 2012. This is a landmark event and a deeper continuation of our integration that will provide greater opportunities for our countries’  businesses.

We’ve had a very long day, but the decisions we made were very concrete. Thank you.

Vladimir Putin: Thank you very much.


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