President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev: Mr Putin, Mr Lukashenko, ladies and gentlemen, citizens of Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia,
Today, President of Kyrgyzstan Almazbek Atambayev and President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan participated in our meeting. Our greetings to them!
Members of the public, deputies from all our nations, the media and youth are invited to the ceremonial signing of the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty. I congratulate the peoples of our nations on the signing of the Treaty on the Creation of the Eurasian Economic Union.
We are uniting our economic potential for the prosperity of our nations. The union is, first and foremost, economic and does not touch on issues of member states’ independence or political sovereignty in the integration process. It is symbolic that the historic Treaty on establishing the Eurasian Economic Union is signed in the city of Astana, the new capital of the independent Kazakhstan.
Astana is located at the very centre and heart of Eurasia; it is the youngest capital in the modern world. Astana’s history already includes bright pages in international events. These include the Congress of Leaders of World and Traditional Religions, the OSCE summit, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit, meetings of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and other international organisations. We are preparing to host the Expo 2017 World Exhibition here.
“The Treaty we signed is a truly historical milestone that opens up broad prospects for the development of our economies and improving the well-being of our countries’ citizens.”
Kazakhstan has made a historic input into promoting the idea of Eurasian integration. As you recall, it was here, at the beginning of the century, that the Eurasian Economic Community was created and a set of important decisions was made determining the course and dynamics of our integration process. Thus, it is natural that Astana became the birthplaceof the Eurasian Economic Community. I do not have any doubts that this association will continue the great traditionsof friendship, good neighbourly relations and mutual support between the peoples of Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia. In the 21st century, we will realise the potential of Eurasian integration together.
Friends, I first unveiled the initiative to create the Eurasian Economic Union at Lomonosov Moscow State University twenty years ago. Only time has the exclusivegift of persuasion. Two decades of experience confirm this. The idea of Eurasian integration has found support from Russia’s leader, President Vladimir Putin, and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. It was this that has brought us here on this day, to the signing of the Treaty. Together, we began to put this noble idea into practice. In the last five years alone, Kazakhstan’s trade with the other Customs Union member states grew by 88%, reaching nearly $24 billion. Our export to our Eurasian integration partner states increased by 63%, amounting to $6 billion. These are not abstract figures. They represent hundreds of companies and enterprises, and new lines of cooperation between partners in Kazakhstan, Russia and Belarus. They represent thousands of new jobs, stability, and profitability growth for Kazakhstani businesses and those of our other partners that have opened themselves to new sales markets.
Armenia and Kyrgyzstan are taking concrete steps to accede to the Treaty. Deepened Eurasian integration is in the interest of our nations and peoples. One of the main goals is to unite the opportunities of each of these nations for joint modernisation and increasing the competitiveness of our states. We need to take into account the experience of other integrated unions, first and foremost the EU. None of the participating nations should find itself subject to deindustrialisation, so that the national economy does not have a drop in the traditional industrial sectors or agriculture. These are the lessons from the European economy’s recession.
Global experience demonstrates that integration means, first and foremost, long-term, stable conditions for developing the economy, new opportunities for citizens’ prosperity. We view the Eurasian Economic Union as an open economic community that is seamlessly entwined into global ties as a reliable bridge between Europe and the developing Asia.
“Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are moving towards a completely new level of cooperation by creating a common space where goods, services, capital and work force can move freely. The three states will follow a coordinated policy in energy, industry, agriculture and transport.”
In promoting Eurasian integration, we are carefully passing through the typical phases into a free trade zone, the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space. Today, with the signing of the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty, we have legally formalised the creation of one of the largest integrated union in the modern world. It has a population of 170 million people, in seventh place worldwide, and it is one of the biggest consumer markets on the planet. Nearly a quarter of all the world’s proven mineral resources lie within its member states’ territories, with a value of up to $40 trillion based on current prices.
Our integrated union is the largest energy resource exporter in the world, and in recent years, it has been a major wheat exporter. The Union fully provides for its own food and energy needs, and has all the necessary services and communications within its common market and with other nations. In other words, we are self-sufficient in key resources that guarantee state independence. Thus, today, a new 21st century geopolitical reality is being born. It was created through a great deal of hard work. I will say honestly, the birth of the Eurasian Economic Union was a tough victory.
The difficult stage of forming and developing global stability measures is ahead of us. We have succeeded in creating the Union, but now that it is here, our major objective is to prove the necessity and viability of this integration to ourselves and the entire world. The integration alone does not guarantee an ideal life or manna from heaven; each of the states will need to work hard.
There will be new challenges, new objectives, and economic recessions. Perhaps mutual trade will not grow as rapidly either. This is natural. We have chosen a game plan that we have not used before, and now we are using it. The only action possible now is to move forward, in any circumstances. We must be ready to resolve all issues together, overcoming all crises through our joint efforts.
Citizens of Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia,
We are creating a fundamentally new model for good neighbourly relations and interaction between peoples in the great Eurasian space. Its foundation is the high level of trust, firm friendship, and mutual support between our governments, tested over history. The Eurasian Economic Union means new opportunities, first and foremost for millions of our nations’ citizens. Favourable conditions are being created for developing small and midsize businesses in participating nations. Labour resource markets are uniting, which is an important factor in achieving a higher professional level and labour productivity.
Our citizens will have equal access to educational services and the social infrastructure in each Eurasian Economic Union member states. The elimination of internal barriers has already reflected positively on strengthening our cultural and humanitarian ties, as well as increasing mutual tourism. All these benefits are absolutely clear to our citizens. This contributes to broad public support of the integration process.
Friends, I want to particularly appeal to our nations’ youth. The Eurasian Economic Union is being created for you. It gives you advantages in acquiring a high-quality education or a professional skillset in any of the participating nations. Today’s events open new opportunities for the future of our states, first and foremost, for the young generations.
“A new economic organisation has appeared on the international arena, one that has full juridical personality and acts based on the principles of the World Trade Organisation.”
Colleagues, we will need to prove the soundness of our decisions and the vitality of our integration to the entire world. I want to address special words of gratitude to the heads of state and central agencies of our nations for implementing all the agreements reached at the highest level – however hard this work has been, however little time we had to overcome obstacles and arrive at this day. Thank you very much.
I want to note the input made to developing the draft Treaty by members of the Eurasian Economic Commission and many experts from our three nations. We have done an enormous amount of work and we have resolved many difficult questions about the future activities of the Eurasian Economic Union. Thank you for this.
Now, our nations’ parliaments will thoroughly examine and ratify the new document. We, the heads of state, have agreed to ask our parliaments to synchronise the adoption of these decisions, so that our Union can come into full force on January 1, 2015.
Friends, this is a momentous day for the peoples of Kazakhstan, Belarus and Russia. The Eurasian Economic Union is a new, sturdy mechanism of eternal friendship, cooperation, and good neighbourly relations between our nations. I feel that May 29 is worthy of being memorialised on our calendars as Eurasian Integration Day.
I once again congratulate the peoples of our nations and all participants and guests in this ceremony on the signing of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union. Smooth sailing to our Economic Union!
Mr Putin, you have the floor.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Friends, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to stress that the governments of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan jointly with the Eurasian Economic Commission managed to complete the drafting of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union as was planned — by June 1, 2014.
As you may know, this process was launched in 1994, when Mr Nazarbayev first described this idea speaking at Moscow State University. It was then developed at a variable pace. In 2009, the President of Kazakhstan yet again gave it additional impetus and we agreed to intensify our efforts in this direction.
I am happy to say that there is popular consensus on this idea in Russia. Whoever was President (back then it was Dmitry Medvedev) we always actively supported this and continued the work on it at Government level.
The Treaty we signed is a truly historical milestone that opens up broad prospects for the development of our economies and improving the well-being of our countries’ citizens.
Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are moving towards a completely new level of cooperation by creating a common space where goods, services, capital and work force can move freely. The three states will follow a coordinated policy in such key branches of the economy as energy, industry, agriculture and transport.
This was not an easy job and until now it was difficult to come to agreement on all these issues. We moved along, even though it was with heated disputes, I would not say with rows, but with serious disagreements. We will continue to move ahead in the same way – based on mutual understanding and a desire to achieve compromise acceptable to all.
We are essentially creating the largest common market on CIS territory (with over 170 million people) with an enormous production, research and technological potential and huge natural resources.
It is not surprising, and I will dwell on it a bit later, that major economies are already showing direct interest in this union. Wherever I go and whomever I meet – everyone wants to know how to establish relations with the new Eurasian Union.
A new economic organisation has appeared on the international arena, one that has full juridical personality and acts based on the principles of the World Trade Organisation. It is important that the transfer of certain authority to supranational agencies of the Union is of no detriment to the sovereignty of our states.
“For the future, we have set ourselves the goal of creating a common financial market. The absence of barriers in the flow of capital will make it possible to diversify risks and improve the quality, accessibility and reliability of financial services.”
Mutual benefit from integration has already been demonstrated in practice. The economic ties between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan are expanding, their trade structure is improving, the share of high-tech goods in the overall trade structure is increasing and our countries are becoming ever more economically competitive in the world.
In the past three years trade turnover within the Customs Union has gone up by 50 percent – that is by $23 billion (in 2013 it amounted to $66.2 billion). Belarus and Kazakhstan together come in third in the overall trade balance of the Russian Federation (after the EU and China). However, let us compare: our trade turnover with the EU is 440 billion, and with China it is 87. Belarus and Kazakhstan are much smaller in terms of economic volumes than these two world economic giants are, but they rate third in their trade with Russia. This shows that we have reached this level mainly due to our integration.
With this in view, we have considered in detail with our partners today how we can use the potential of the Eurasian Economic Union to enhance the flow of goods and investment and expand industrial and technological cooperation.
Special attention is given to improving the business climate. Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan intend to stimulate responsible competition on the Union market. At the same time, we will efficiently protect the interests of the consumers and the businesses of the member states.
For the future, we have set ourselves the goal of creating a common financial market. The absence of barriers in the flow of capital will make it possible to diversify risks and improve the quality, accessibility and reliability of financial services.
Stage-by-stage harmonisation of the currency policy will serve to enhance the stability of the financial systems of the Union member states and will make the national money markets more predictable and better protected from exchange rate fluctuations, and will enhance our sovereignty as well.
The citizens of our countries should be able to fully assess the benefits of Eurasian integration. They will receive the right to work freely in the three states without having to obtain any work permits.
Of course, we touched upon the issue of expanding membership in the Eurasian Union, as Mr Nazarbayev already mentioned, and we have considered the draft treaty with Armenia. This document should be approved and signed shortly. Armenia would like to have this done in June. Overall, we all agreed. We expect that shortly after the Union is set up, Armenia will become its full-fledged member.
We also discussed the prospects for other partners joining the Union, primarily Kyrgyzstan. We have just had a detailed discussion with the President of Kyrgyzstan. I believe chances are high, though there is still a lot of work to be done to draft the relevant documents. We are ready to help, and Kyrgyzstan has every chance of joining the Union soon.
We agreed to step up our negotiations, as I already said, with Vietnam on creating a free trade zone, to strengthen cooperation with the People’s Republic of China, specifically in the exchange of customs information on goods and services, and to form expert groups that would work out preferential trade regimes with Israel and India.
I am convinced that through joint efforts we will be able to create favourable conditions for the development of our economies in order to maintain stability, security and prosperity in Eurasia.
Thank you for your attention.
“Stage-by-stage harmonisation of the currency policy will serve to enhance the stability of the financial systems of the Union member states and will make the national money markets more predictable and better protected from exchange rate fluctuations, and will enhance our sovereignty as well.”
Nursultan Nazarbayev: Mr Lukashenko, please.
President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko: Friends,
The process of creating the Customs Union, the Common Economic Space and finally, the Eurasian Union was very long and complicated. We have lost some parties along the way; I am referring to Ukraine of President Kuchma, which was also with us when we began this complicated work. Unfortunately, the burden proved to be too heavy for Ukraine, but I am certain that eventually the Ukrainian leadership will see where its happiness lies, or at least would not lose what rightfully belongs to the Ukrainian people. We have also found new supporters on this long and difficult journey, such as our friends and brothers from Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Many things happened over the decades, but we did not stop and moved on with confidence in the future.
As you may know, our joint efforts in the name of Eurasian integration have been marked today by an important milestone – the signing of the Treaty on the Eurasian Union between Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.
This is a document we pinned great hopes on. Belarus has always been open in this regard, clearly formulating its goals and tasks within the framework of Eurasian integration. Our priorities are well known; we always openly presented them, which often caused the displeasure of certain groups in our states.
Bearing in mind the work that has been put into preparing this Treaty, including at summit level, Belarus today put its signature under this global document. We are prepared to consistently and undeniably move forward towards the full implementation of the agreements reached in the course of very difficult negotiations. At the same time we should state the fact that the resolution of some problems pertaining to our economic cooperation, primarily those dealing with mutual trade between member states, has been assigned to a later date so that our further joint work on these issues can continue unhindered. The signing of the Treaty today is not the end of the process, I would say it is the beginning of a serious process – something President Nazarbayev has just mentioned – the process whereby we should prove to ourselves and, I repeat, to the world at large, primarily to our own people, that we have made steps in the right direction.
Therefore, to make sure that the issues we have come across and could not resolve at once do get solved in the future, we state that steps to build the Eurasian Economic Union have to be tied in with the resolution of issues that have a significant impact on mutual trade between the Union member states. We believe that the Economic Union will become the basis of our political, military and humanitarian unity.
On behalf of the people of Belarus, allow me to congratulate the people of Russia and Kazakhstan on this historic event.
Nursultan Nazarbayev: Colleagues, as we have already said, this year we agreed that in the course of June Armenia will join our Union – only a few documents need to be finalised. Within the year, Kyrgyzstan will also be ready to become a member of our Union, as of January 1.
Thank you for attending. All the best.