MINSK, 18 October (BelTA) – Many barriers impeding trade and economic cooperation between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) member states have not been removed yet, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he visited the Academy of Public Administration under the aegis of the Belarus President on 18 October, BelTA has learned.
“There is an array of disagreements behind the scenes. We have not managed to remove the barriers we were supposed to remove while establishing the EAEU. We will not withdraw from the EAEU. We will keep fighting. There is no escaping it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The head of state provided a detailed time-line of integration after the collapse of the Soviet Union. He pointed to Russia's big role in the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the subsequent integration processes. “The Soviet Union fell apart and Russia realized that it could not do without the national republics, so it decided to keep them close. Such considerations gave rise to the Union State, which is our project with Russia. After that, the Eurasian Economic Union was initiated and established because of envy; it was supposed to counterpoise the Union State. I said that I was okay with it, because the economic union was our priority, we had to do everything to put our cooperation on a solid track,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.
He recalled occasional proposals to steer away from Russia and embrace the West. “Look, how can we steer away from Russia? Where will be sell our products then? In the West? The economy in the West has the same specialization [they produce the same goods] that we have. Do you think they will let our products in? Never ever. We are not welcome anywhere, therefore these are just idle talks. That was our reasoning for establishing the Eurasian Economic Union,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
He noted that later on Russia started imposing some restrictive measures, like restrictions on Belarusian foodstuffs.
“The union was supposed to enable free movement of goods, capital, workforce and so on. It has not been achieved yet. You know why the process got stalled. You probably hear me naming the culprits virtually openly, without diplomatic courtesy at sessions. This is of critical importance for us,” the head of state said.
Although Belarus and Russia have the common regional group of forces, relations in the defense sector are not smooth, either. “We have versed ourselves in developing new types of weapons. We need to purchase some nodes and aggregates. We relied on Russia for that back in the Soviet Union. They don't give it to us. We need to fight for it. Competitors…” Aleksandr Lukashenko explained. This is the reason why Belarus had to turn to China while developing new models of missiles. Cooperation with China is gaining momentum. Ukraine is also showing interest, the president added.More about President