MOSCOW, 9 January (BelTA) – The press service of the Eurasian Economic Commission has released an address of Belarus President, Chairman of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council Aleksandr Lukashenko to heads of state of the Eurasian Economic Union on the occasion of Belarus' assuming presidency over EAEU bodies as of 1 January 2020, BelTA has learned.
The address reads: “We suggest focusing joint efforts on fully removing barriers, on reducing the number of exemptions and restrictions on EAEU markets as much as possible, on preventing the possibility of emergence of new kinds of barriers that may stand in the way of free competition. We would like to point out it is high time the authority of EAEU bodies had been clarified. We are in favor of a systemic solution to the problem of poor standards of implementation of the decisions made by EAEU bodies and the enforcement of EAEU laws and regulations. We believe it is advisable to step up the performance of EAEU bodies, improve the decision-making process, optimize the agenda of sessions of the Council of the Eurasian Economic Commission and the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council by delegating some authority to the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission.”
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, it is necessary 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 future stages of development of Eurasian integration. As part of the efforts to implement the integration agenda, it is necessary to make the transition to the program- and goal-oriented method, which provides for defining indicators in key directions of integration.
It is necessary to step up the supranational competence of the Eurasian Economic Commission, primarily in spheres with the greatest number of barriers and exemptions such as technical regulation, the application of sanitary, veterinary and phytosanitary measures, public procurement, and subsidizing. It is necessary to institute an authorization-based procedure for introducing national restrictive measures. Such measures need to be preapproved by EAEU bodies.
The transfer of additional powers to the Eurasian Economic Commission should be accompanied by an increase in its responsibility, discipline, human resources, work transparency and accountability to the member states.
As an independent entity the Eurasian Economic Commission should be vested with the right to appeal to the EAEU Court. It is necessary to pay close attention to improving the court's performance, including by means of introducing mechanisms for enforcing its rulings.
The address lists the most important tasks, which accomplishment the Republic of Belarus believes will determine future development of the Eurasian Economic Union. Those include transition to a single or common policy in manufacturing sector, agriculture, energy, transport, and other ones. Only then the prerequisites and conditions for the adoption of national regulations that contradict the Eurasian Economic Union objectives and create barriers in mutual trade will be eliminated.
It is important to complete the formation of the common energy and transport markets of the Eurasian Economic Union. The work should be accompanied by efforts to ensure non-discriminatory approaches in pricing, tariffs and access to services of natural monopolies. A step-by-step accomplishment of this task should be visible and should produce concrete results every year, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
As part of the efforts to build a common financial market the Belarusian side suggests starting meaningful work on creating payment space of the Eurasian Economic Union. It is necessary to ensure uninterrupted transboundary transactions and payments in the Eurasian Economic Union space. It is necessary to de-dollarize the economies, further increase the share of transactions in national currencies of the member states, and ensure the independence of interstate payments from external factors (SWIFT systems, foreign correspondent banks, and the risk of sanctions).
In the industrial sector it is necessary to focus efforts on harmonizing the national policies, on introducing uniform approaches, on unifying tools and the levels of state support, on enabling manufacturing cooperation schemes and forming regional manufacturing chains to create added value. It is also necessary to implement joint projects and localize production, make modern products able to satisfy the needs of the home market and enable Eurasian Economic Union member states to jointly penetrate third-country markets.
Aleksandr Lukashenko believes it is necessary to pass a unified import substitution program on the basis of national programs. It is necessary to develop a long-term strategic program for innovative development, step up cooperation in science, R&D, and innovations. All the measures should be implemented under the oversight of EAEU bodies.
Equalizing business operation terms is an important matter as well as the creation of a common and transparent competitive environment in the internal space of the Eurasian Economic Union. The Eurasian Economic Commission should pay attention to matters of subsidizing. The commission should stop being an observer and become a legislator. The commission should take measures to fix the domestic market of industrial products misbalanced by state support measures. If necessary, the commission should get broader authority with regard to the application of specific subsidies.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, close attention should be paid to the formation of a balanced agricultural market in the Eurasian Economic Union on the basis of a modern system able to predict the development of the union's agribusiness complex and in-depth interstate manufacturing cooperation using effective systems for promoting agricultural products and food, including to third-country markets. It is necessary to develop interstate development programs for sensitive agricultural goods. The specialization of agricultural enterprises on the basis of their competitive advantages may be required.
As for technical regulation, the Belarusian side believes it is necessary 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 EAEU products.
It is necessary to bolster mutual trust in results of accreditation and the reliability of conformity assessment procedures. It is necessary to ensure consistency of mechanisms of state control (oversight). It is necessary to build a transparent and rigid system of responsibility for all parties involved in the release of products into circulation on the common market. The tasks can be accomplished by creating a common digital platform for technical regulations and quality management infrastructure, a digital environment for the development of standards. It is necessary to make the transition to electronic permits and establish an arbitration assessment procedure to resolve disputes. The Eurasian Economic Commission's functions in the field of standardization, accreditation, conformity assessment and state control (oversight) should be revised. “We believe it necessary to conduct a comprehensive analysis of provisions of the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty in order to ensure a transition to a unified policy for applying veterinary, sanitary and phytosanitary measures,” the Belarus president's address reads.
Belarus also supports future cooperation between the EAEU countries on the digital agenda. It is necessary to intensify the convergence of integration processes in the Eurasian Economic Union and the Commonwealth of Independent States, to take steps to make the EAEU membership more attractive for partners in the Commonwealth of Independent States. It is important to continue working to incorporate the Eurasian Economic Union into the system of international relations, intensify cooperation with international organizations and associations, including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, ASEAN, the European Union, MERCOSUR, the WTO, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Negotiation tracks will be added to liberalize trade regulations with third countries, primarily large ones like BRICS countries, Indonesia, and other ones. It is necessary to launch joint projects to promote Eurasian Economic Union products and services to foreign markets. Belarus also suggests stepping up efforts to jointly develop the transport and logistics infrastructure, including through the effective participation in Belt and Road initiative projects.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also suggested taking additional measures for the global and regional positioning of the Eurasian Economic Union followed by the development and implementation of a common information policy. The concept of the common information policy will have to be developed as well as a strategy and action plans to implement it.
Aleksandr Lukashenko is also convinced that the adoption and implementation of the strategic directions on Eurasian Integration in the period till 2025 will contribute to the achievement of the goals, objectives, and commitments stipulated by the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty and to the expansion of the integration work onto additional areas of cooperation. In particular, the address mentions cooperation in the area of science and technology with a view to providing an innovative breakthrough for the economies of the member states, the implementation of major infrastructure and industrial projects, the creation of Eurasian transnational corporations, and the enhancement of the competitive ability of Eurasian products on international markets.
“The most important thing is to ensure broad support for Eurasian integration among citizens of our countries,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. Close attention should be paid to social aspects, to ways to increase effective employment and social security of working citizens, to cooperation in education, healthcare, promotion of a healthy lifestyle, broad inclusion of young people in Eurasian integration processes, and interaction in other humanitarian fields.
“I hope that these initiatives and focus areas will be backed by the Eurasian Economic Union member states while their implementation will ensure further progressive development of our union on the basis of mutual trust, respect and openness,” the Belarus president concluded.