World Economy

40 States to Create FTZ With EEU

40 States to Create FTZ With EEU40 States to Create FTZ With EEU

Around 40 states have plans to establish a free trade zone with the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin, told an international conference in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana on Monday.

“Five countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have already made a Eurasian choice, and another 40 countries across the world have officially voiced their wish to set up a free trade zone with our integration association,” Itar Tass quoted Naryshkin as saying.

The Eurasian Economic Union, which comes into force in January 2015, offers a unique chance for cooperation between western Europe and the Asia-Pacific Region, the lawmaker said. The EEU members are currently Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Armenia. Kyrgyzstan is expected to join the union soon.

Naryshkin said those who consider the EEU as a threat only confirm that “a new and serious geopolitical player is indeed emerging in the world.” “It will probably build those lacking bridges which will unite western Europe with the dynamic Asia-Pacific region,” he stressed.

The lawmaker warned against regarding the new bloc as a threat, saying it gives a “unique chance in which the peoples of Europe, Asia and the world in general are strategically interested.”


Naryshkin said the Eurasian Economic Union will enlarge. “We see what interest other states have in the Eurasian Economic Union. I am sure it will enlarge and strengthen,” he said.

The Kazakh Senate’s Chairman Kasym-Zhomart Tokayev noted the significance of the EEU formation. “It is an adequate response to what is happening in the world and to world economy shocks,” he said.

The idea of Eurasian integration was voiced first by Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev in 1994. Finally, the Eurasian Economic Union has been formed and will begin working on January 1, 2015.

The first attempt to form an economic international organization was made when the Commonwealth of Independent States concluded an agreement on an economic union, but the project was not implemented.

In 1995, Russia and Belarus signed an agreement on a customs union, which was joined by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

The countries concluded an agreement on the Customs Union and the common economic space in 1999 to build a common market.

In 2009, the Russian, Belarusian and Kazakh presidents agreed on a deeper economic integration form – the Common Economic Space.

The three agreements on the Eurasian Economic Union, the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space are open for other states to join.

  EU Threatens Serbia

Naryshkin said that the European Union’s statement that Serbia has to join the sanctions against Russia is “rude and caddish.”

“Just several days ago we heard a rude and, I should say, a caddish statement from one of the EU high-ranking officials in regard to an independent sovereign state of Serbia. It was stated so: you should join the so-called anti-Russian sanctions or otherwise there is no place for you in the European Union,” Naryshkin told an international conference in Kazakhstan’s capital Astana.

Naryshkin said such an EU stance contradicts the norms of the international law and is in fact blackmail. “Undoubtedly, such steps have nothing in common with the principles of sovereign equality or the principles of respect towards history, culture and traditions of the partner-state,” he said.

Last week, Johannes Hahn, the EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, said Serbia should bring its foreign political position in line with the European stance by imposing anti-Russian economic sanctions.

Meanwhile, both Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said that Serbia would not impose sanctions on Russia despite its goal to join the European Union.