The Eurasian Economic Commission is a standing body of the Eurasian Economic Union and is primarily responsible for ensuring the Eurasian Economic Union’s functioning. The Commission began work in 2012 and operates as a collegial body. Viktor Khristenko was appointed the Commission’s first chairman for a four-year term by decision of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council. From February 1, former Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Sargsyan will take over the post of chairman of the Commission.
* * *
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Khristenko, you have spent four years working as Chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission Board. Many events have taken place in this organisation’s life over this time and it has made big steps forward in its development and in building up its reputation and its influence on the economic processes underway in our countries. The organisation has changed its name over this time, and has expanded. You personally and your colleagues have made a very big contribution to this work.
This work is of great significance, fundamental importance for us. Initially it was about rebuilding and strengthening the historic economic and social ties between the former Soviet republics of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan, and then we were joined by two more republics – Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. It is no exaggeration to say that these are fundamental milestones in our development.
I want to thank you for your work and express the hope that those who will carry on from you will work just as effectively as you did. Let us discuss together where best to use the knowledge and experience you have gained over this time.
Viktor Khristenko: Mr President, thank you for such a positive assessment. The Commission’s work over these past four years was indeed very active and busy. As you said, we laid the legal base for the Eurasian Economic Union to start its work and become a genuine, full-fledged international organisation, recognised by the United Nations, and with its own organisational structure.
The Commission, as the executive body, has been quite effective over this time, allowing uninterrupted work on adopting the decisions that set and regulate the common external rules for access to our markets. These decisions have direct application and do not need separate approval at the national level. Over these four years, this executive body has developed and works quite effectively. I am sure that the colleagues who will take over from us, from the first shift, will continue building on these foundations and working effectively.
The tasks and the focus of attention are changing slightly. Today’s circumstances, as I see it, require two things at least. We are all members of an alliance that as a whole now faces serious new external challenges that will certainly have an impact on our countries. This calls for a consolidated position and assessment, and for decisions that will minimise negative consequences.
In this kind of difficult situation, having an alliance is definitely an advantage because it creates opportunities for finding new growth sources here at home, in our own economies. Despite all the difficulties we have encountered, our trade turnover has grown over these past years, and we have succeeded in building a qualitatively new, rational and effective economic cooperation model that considerably reduces our dependence on raw materials and links us closer together through final products and goods produced by high-tech production cycles. This is a very important trend.
The second task that I think extremely important is that the Commission should concentrate over the next four years on addressing in full the issues that were not entirely cleared up before and the tasks that still remain on the waiting list – filling in the integration gaps, as it were. This involves the new common markets in pharmaceuticals and medical goods, tobacco, alcohol, oil, gas and electricity, which will considerably enrich the entire spectrum of the common economic market.
At the same time, we need better instruments for customs and technical regulation. We already have unified rules in these areas, but they often have exceptions and restrictions that reduce the common market’s effect and prevent us from realising its full integration potential.
I am sure that these are important points and the Commission will give them its attention and enable us to genuinely develop the common market’s potential for the benefit of all of our countries.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.