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Address by Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus and Chairman of the SEEC, to Heads of the Eurasian Economic Union Member States

Address by Alexander Lukashenko, President of the Republic of Belarus and Chairman of the SEEC, to Heads of the Eurasian Economic Union Member States

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1/9/2020

Since January 1, 2020, the Republic of Belarus is assuming chairmanship in the Eurasian Economic Union’s governing bodies thus opening the next five-year cycle of its development.

We invite focusing our joint efforts on fully removing barriers, reducing the number of exemptions and restrictions in the EAEU markets to the greatest possible extent and preventing possible emergence of new kinds of barriers to create free competitive environment.

We note that it is high time to clarify certain powers of the EAEU governing bodies. We are in favor of a systematic solution to the issue of executive discipline in implementing decisions made by the Union’s governing bodies and compliance with the EAEU’s law. We consider it expedient to increase the efficiency of the Union’s governing bodies, improve the decision-making procedure and optimize the meeting agenda of the EEC Council and the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council by delegating some authorities to the EEC Board.

It is required to improve the institutional structure of the Union, bring the competence of the Eurasian Economic Commission and the EAEU Court into compliance with modern and promising stages of the Eurasian integration development.

While implementing the integration agenda, it is required to switch to the program-and-goal oriented method, which provides for defining indicators in key directions of integration, responsibility for their achievement and implementation of relevant activities.

It is required to strengthen the supranational competence of the Eurasian Economic Commission, primarily in the spheres with the greatest number of barriers and exemptions: technical regulation, application of sanitary, veterinary and phytosanitary measures, public procurement and subsidies. It has become imminent to establish an authorization-based procedure for introducing national restrictive measures, which shall be preliminary considered by the Union’s governing bodies.

The transfer of additional authorities to the Commission should be accompanied by strengthening of its responsibility, discipline, staff composition, work transparency and accountability to the members.

As an independent entity, the Commission should be vested with the right to appeal to the EAEU Court, and the improvement of the Court’s performance, including by means of introducing mechanisms for enforcing its rulings, calls for special attention.

The Republic of Belarus associates further development of the Eurasian Economic Union with solving the following important tasks.

Transition to a single or common policy in the spheres of industry, agriculture, energy, transport and others. Only then the prerequisites and conditions for adopting national legal acts that are inconsistent with the Union’s objectives and create obstacles to mutual trade will be eliminated.

The completion of work on forming common energy and transport markets of the EAEU should be associated with ensuring non-discriminatory approaches in the sphere of price setting, tariffs and access to services of natural monopolies. A step-by-step solution of this task should be visible and have concrete results every year.

As part of building a common financial market, we propose starting meaningful work on creating the EAEU payment space, ensuring uninterrupted transboundary transactions and payments in the Union, de-dollarization of economies, further increasing the share of transactions in national currencies of the Member States and ensuring the independence of interstate payments from external factors (SWIFT system, foreign correspondent banks and sanction-related risks).

In the industrial sector a key pace shall be given to harmonizing the national policies, introducing uniform approaches, unifying tools and the levels of state support, enabling manufacturing cooperation schemes and forming regional manufacturing chains to create added value, implementing joint projects and localizing production, manufacturing modern products able to satisfy the needs of the internal market and enable the EAEU Member States to jointly enter third-country markets.

A unified import substitution program of the Union should be adopted on the basis of national programs. It is required to develop a long-term strategic program for innovative development, strengthen cooperation in research and development and innovation sectors. All these measures should be implemented under the guidance of the Union’s governing bodies.

Equalizing conditions for doing business as well as creating a common and transparent competitive environment in the internal space of the Union is another matter of importance. The Eurasian Economic Commission should pay attention to matters of subsidizing, having changed its operation mode from an observer to a legislator as well as taken measures to correct the imbalance in the domestic market of industrial products caused by state support measures. The Commission should get broader authority with regard to the application of specific subsidies, if required.

Special attention should be paid to the formation of a balanced agricultural market in the Union based on a modern system able to predict the development of the EAEU’s agricultural sector and in-depth interstate manufacturing cooperation using effective systems for promoting agricultural products and food, including to third markets. It is required to develop interstate development programs for sensitive agricultural goods, including specialization of the EAEU agricultural enterprises based on their competitive advantages.

In the sphere of technical regulation, we believe it is of current concern to accelerate the development of the Union’s common technical regulations and modern standards based on international approaches and aimed at ensuring the safety and competitiveness of the EAEU Member States’ products.

It is required to increase mutual trust in the results of accreditation and reliability of conformity assessment and to ensure the consistency of state control (supervision) mechanisms. It is required to build a transparent and rigid system of responsibility for all participants involved in the release of products into circulation and its control in the single market. Creating a single digital platform for technical regulation and quality infrastructure of the EAEU, a digital environment for developing standards, transiting to electronic approval documents as well as establishing an arbitration evaluation mechanism for resolving controversial issues will help to solve these problems. The Commission’s functions in the sphere of standardization, accreditation, conformity assessment and state control (supervision) should be reviewed.

We believe it necessary to comprehensively analyze the provisions of the Treaty on the EAEU in order to ensure a transition to a unified policy for applying veterinary, sanitary and phytosanitary measures. We welcome further interaction between our countries on the digital agenda.

It is required to intensify the convergence of integration processes in the EAEU and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and to take steps to make the Union membership more attractive for our partners in the Commonwealth.

It is important to continue working to incorporate the EAEU into the system of international relations, intensify cooperation with international organizations and associations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the ASEAN, the European Union, MERCOSUR, the World Customs Organization (WTO), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) as well as to join integration processes in the Eurasian space. Negotiation tracks will be added to liberalize trade regimes with third countries, primarily with such large ones as the BRICS countries (Brazil, India, China and South Africa), Indonesia and others. It is required to launch joint projects to bring the EAEU goods and services to foreign markets. Efforts should be intensified to jointly develop transport and logistics infrastructure, including effective participation in projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.

We propose to take additional measures for the global and regional positioning of the EAEU with access to the development and implementation of a common (unified) information policy. The Concept of the Common Information Policy shall be developed as well as the Strategy and action plans to implement it.

We are confident that the adoption and implementation of the Strategic Directions for the Eurasian Integration until 2025 will contribute to achieving the goals, objectives and commitments enshrined in the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union as well as involving additional areas of cooperation into the integration orbit. In particular, this applies to interaction in the scientific and technical sphere by ensuring an innovative breakthrough of the Member States’ economies, implementation of major infrastructure and industrial projects, creation of the Eurasian transnational companies and increasing the competitiveness of the Eurasian products in the global market.

The most important thing is to ensure broad support for the Eurasian integration among citizens of our States. Special attention should be paid to social aspects, improving effective employment and protection of workers, cooperation in the sphere of education, public health, promoting a healthy way of living, broad involvement of the youth in the Eurasian integration processes and interaction in other humanitarian fields.

I express hope that these initiatives and focus areas will be supported by the Eurasian Economic Union Member States while their implementation will ensure further progressive development of our Union based on mutual trust, respect and openness.

Alexander Lukashenko