Press statement following CSTO Collective Security Council, EurAsEC Interstate Council and Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meetings 2012-12-19 21:00:00 The Kremlin, Moscow President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. We had a very busy day today. The main underlying theme of all our events was deepening integration. Our new objective is working jointly as partners within Eurasia. That is what we discussed at the CSTO Collective Security Council meeting, and at the EurAsEC Interstate Council and the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meetings. I would like to note the constructive, highly substantive nature of our talks and all of the participants’ common focus on practical results. As for the CSTO, the discussion we had confirmed the Organisation’s role as a key element for ensuring security in Eurasia. I will not linger on this topic since we all understand what this means. We continue to face quite serious threats from drug trafficking among other things – unfortunately, it is not decreasing, but on the contrary, going up. According to data from international organisations, opium production in Afghanistan grew, I believe, by 18 percent in the last year. Many problems remain unresolved in fighting organised crime, terrorism, etc. Finally, plans are in place to withdraw the international coalition’s troops from Afghanistan soon, in 2014 which generates additional problems for us hence we must all start thinking about it now. Today, we considered all these issues and discussed improving CSTO operation mechanisms that, in my opinion, will make this organisation more effective and allow it to meet today’s demands. It was observed at the EurAsEC Interstate Council session that the Community successfully fulfilled its mission to promote integration processes. The Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan has been fully functional since July 2011. Since the beginning of 2012, 17 fundamental agreements have already gone into effect to form the Common Economic Space. Its supranational regulatory body – the Eurasian Economic Commission, which is taking over the functions of further deepening integration – has also been set and started working. Such functions include implementing the agreements reached at meetings between heads of state and government. This was another topic we covered today in great detail. In connection with moving forward and creating the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, it is clear that the EurAsEC’s operations must be reformatted, its structures optimised. But we agreed that this organisation will be maintained and continue to function as some of its members, such states as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, are members of this organisation but are not yet members of the Customs Union, and they must be part of the common integration processes. The EurAsEC Court and EurAsEC Interparliamentary Assembly are continuing their work. Their goal is to ensure that cooperation within the framework of the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space and EurAsEC develops in parallel, transforming into one integrated format – the Eurasian Economic Union. The Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting confirmed an understanding of the importance of rapidly advancing integration processes within the framework of the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. Eurasian economic integration is a conscious, independent, sovereign choice by each of our nations. The main goal is to do everything necessary to launch the Eurasian Economic Union by January 1, 2015. The Eurasian Economic Commission has developed a plan for promoting this goal. We have instructed the cabinets of three countries to intensify their efforts so that this governmental plan can be adopted by May 1, 2013, with a draft agreement presented for signing by May 2014 so that it can come into force on January 1, 2015. This is a crucial evolutionary phase and it is proceeding according to plan. We agreed to increase outreach in order to position the Commission on the international arena. Today’s talks confirmed that multidimensional integration in Eurasia is certainly gaining momentum. Most importantly – and I want to particularly stress this – it is generating positive results. Since the Customs Union began operations, trade between the three countries has increased by 10 percent, while our turnover with the rest of the world has grown by only 4.7 percent in the same timeframe. As you can see, the difference is significant, but what is even more significant and what is even more important is that we have a much more attractive trade structure. In trade between the three countries the share of machines and equipment is as high as 20 percent, while accounting for an average of only two percent of our turnover with the outside world. And this speaks to the fact that we are not just adequate partners, but are also very appealing and effective partners in terms of the development level of our production forces, the development of our transport infrastructure and cooperation between our major companies. And our cooperation is certainly increasing our common competitiveness.