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Press statement following EurAsEC Interstate Council and Supreme Eurasian Economic Council session

March 19, 2012

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Ladies and gentlemen,

My colleagues have asked me to make a statement on the results of the EurAsEC Interstate Council and the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting at the heads-of-state level.

We spent our time productively, engaging in discussions, at times rather intense ones, on how to further promote integration processes. We have made a number of decisions specifically aimed at ensuring that integration follows a predictable scenario and we ultimately form the Eurasian Economic Union by 2015.

We spoke about how to coordinate our approaches and further promote integration. We decided to instruct our governments and the Eurasian Economic Commission’s Board to improve performance of the corresponding institutions of the Eurasian Economic Union and to make steps toward a more compact operation thereof, so that the employees of the relevant agencies do not overlap in their activities but rather pursue the main tasks within the Eurasian Economic Commission.

Our agenda also involved establishing a number of new agencies. We agreed that the national leaders will continue discussing these issues, most likely in May of this year, when we might be holding our next EurAsEC summit and a new session of the Interstate Council.

We expect that a comprehensive agreement on the new union will be drafted and signed by January 1, 2015. We do not have a lot of time left, since we remember the formation of the European Union, beginning in the 1960s and even as early as the 1950s, followed by the Maastricht Treaty, and ultimately, the Treaty of Lisbon – the overall process took far more time. We do not have that much time; we have less than three years ahead of us, in which we must complete all these processes.

We discussed many issues concerning our cooperation within the Customs Union format with participation by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

Today’s meeting was quite beneficial because we were joined by our friends from observer-states. I think the way we discussed all the issues, absolutely sincerely and on an equal basis, was truly illustrative for them.

We talked about the Customs Union’s advantages, as well as certain difficulties that may arise and have already arisen for states that are not members of the Customs Union. Well, that’s life: if you participate in any kind of international association, you gain a certain set of benefits, and if you do not participate, you may face certain difficulties. We felt it was important to convey our position to some of our observer-states.

We discussed the issue of unifying passport and visa control. We agreed that our efforts in this highly important but complicated area will continue. In any case, all our actions must be aimed at liberalising the movement of capital, works, services, and labour force within the Customs Union. Further expert work will be continued in order to prepare a corresponding “road map”.

Overall, I would like to say that I am absolutely satisfied with today’s meeting. Although we spent quite a bit of time on procedural points, these activities allow us to identify the similarities and differences in our positions and find possibility to advance the integration process through all existing opportunities.

I would like to thank my colleagues for their thorough, substantive approach to all the issues we discussed. And I would like to thank you for your work. Goodbye.

March 19, 2012