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Mikhail Myasnikovich: "The EAEU countries should strengthen trust and cooperation for economic growth, complementing and supporting each other"

Mikhail Myasnikovich: "The EAEU countries should strengthen trust and cooperation for economic growth, complementing and supporting each other"

On April 15, Mikhail Myasnikovich, Chairman of the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission, Doctor of Economics, Professor and Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, told about the ways to achieve advanced development goals and improving the competitiveness of the Eurasian Economic Union States in the context of the global economy through strengthening integration processes in the medium term during his lecture for students, postgraduates and the scientific and academic community at the National Research University Higher School of Economics. The event was held as part of the 22nd April International Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development. 

The past year 2020 has made serious adjustments to the global development logic. The last year’s global economic crisis was caused by changing technological and world economic paradigms. The pandemic has only speeded up the negative processes. They are based on a secular stagnation in 2014-2019, long-term postponement of strategic decisions and unfavorable energy market conditions. According to the IMF, the decline in global GDP ranges within 3.5% in 2020.

The pandemic and the crisis have also exacerbated a number of other problems: the rise of protectionism and the crisis of the multilateral trading system, the unilateral rejection of long-term commitments and the intention to change from a cooperative agenda to separate development of the world's major economies.

"I believe that all of the above is a step backwards," Mikhail Myasnikovich stressed. "In the current situation, deepening regional integration and creating an updated seamless architecture of international economic relations thereupon is one of the most efficient ways of development".

Over the six-year period since its establishment, the EAEU has passed a significant stage in its development, has succeeded as an integral element of the Union countries’ economic model and has become part of the global economy’s architecture. The EAEU GDP increased by 21% in the first five years, reaching almost 2 tln dollars at year-end 2019. During the same period, the EAEU’s industrial production increased by 13.2%, including in the manufacturing industry by almost 15%. These indicators are higher than, for example, in the EU, where industrial production increased by 5.4%, including the manufacturing industry increased by 6.1%. The EAEU States’ mutual trade increased by 27.7%. In the World Bank's annual Doing Business 2020 ranking, the EAEU ranks 29th out of 190 economies raising its ranking by 12 positions, while Kazakhstan and Russia improved their positions by 13 and 16 points, respectively.

Nowadays, the EAEU has a functioning commodity market, significant progress has been made in forming a market for services (it operates in 53 sectors), a unified Customs Code has been adopted and free movement and social guarantees for workers are provided (for example, the Agreement on Pension Provision entered into force in January 2021). 49 common technical regulations have been adopted and more than 12,000 international standards are in force, so that about 85% of products have already been certified according to the common technical standards.

According to Mikhail Myasnikovich, early 2021 seems good. The negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Union countries’ economies is gradually weakening: for example, Belarus increased its industrial output by 8.3% in January-February 2021 compared to January-February 2020 and the Union States’ mutual trade increased by 3.3% in January 2021. According to forecasts of international organizations, a cyclical global economic recovery is expected in 2021. For example, the GDP growth rate of the Russian Federation may be approximately 3.0% and it may increase up to 3.9% in 2022.

The Chairman of the EEC Board reported on coordinated actions taken to minimize the corona crisis at the Union level.

"This limited the virus spreading pace; we ensured the management of resources, medicines and medical devices and strived to create conditions for an efficient post-crisis recovery. Developing highly efficient vaccines against coronavirus by the Russian Federation in a timely manner, arranging their supplies and localizing their manufacture in the EAEU countries were of paramount importance here, which may serve as a positive example of integration cooperation for the sake of millions of people," Mikhail Myasnikovich considers.

The objective to determine vectors, key measures and new mechanisms required for developing integration and achieving the Union's goals has been set out in the Strategic Directions for Developing the Eurasian Economic Integration until 2025 approved by the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in December 2020. The Strategy-2025 unlocks the existing potential of the Treaty on the Union signed in 2014, and develops integration areas new for the EAEU.

"Despite the fact that we have an economic union, education, healthcare, tourism, sports and etc. have been included in the Strategy. We believe that there should be a certain social loyalty to those processes we implement within our Eurasian Economic Union," the Head of the Commission’s Board stressed. The Commission’s Council has recently approved a detailed action plan for implementing the Strategy.

According to Mikhail Myasnikovich, due to high competition in commodity markets after the coronavirus crisis, the EAEU countries should strengthen cooperation, complementing and supporting each other.

"We should address the issues of preferential lending to integration projects. At present we explore specific proposals for instruments to reduce (subsidize) interest rates for financing joint projects by the EAEU development institutions. It is required to create joint Eurasian corporations and companies," he stated.

Later in the day, Mikhail Myasnikovich and Yaroslav Kuzminov, Rector of the Higher School of Economics, signed a Cooperation Program between the EEC and the HSE. The document is designed for two years and contemplates, inert alia, joint implementation of educational programs at the Higher School of Economics and involving students, postgraduates and teaching staff in scientific support of the Eurasian economic integration, determination of further development vectors as well as organization of joint events.

For reference

The April International Scientific Conference on Economic and Social Development is held annually by the National Research University "Higher School of Economics". This venue is a meeting place for young and distinguished scientists, government officials, entrepreneurship and representatives of the expert community. The conference discusses current issues of social development and holds discussions on a wide range of issues. This year's event will be held on April 13-30.