The life and economy of the Eurasian Five during and after the pandemic, the EAEU strategy for the next 5 years, and international cooperation are on the agenda of the today's summit of the Union of Five leaders, which was held for the second time in a video conference format. A month has passed since the last “virtual meeting” when the politicians discussed fighting COVID-19 and steps for recovery and development in the post-coronavirus era. The topic is still relevant, which is why it is important to clearly define how the union will develop further under the new conditions and, of course, to ensure the fulfillment of the previously voiced obligations.
The epidemiological situation and life in the new conditions require constant monitoring of the situation. Of course, the health of citizens of an integration association is the number one issue. But at the same time, it is important to provide decent living conditions now and think about what will happen when the pandemic ends. Here one cannot do without a clear scenario. The main document of this summit is the Union Strategy for the next 5 years. No decision has yet been made on one of the issues.
The price of gas transportation for Belarus is fundamental. The Belarusian producers are physically unable to compete on equal terms with the same Russian ones. And this is a violation of the basic documents and agreements of the Union. Russia's position is to maintain inequality until the creation of a common market. At the same time, the common market itself cannot be created before the unification of tariffs. This is a vicious circle. Belarus and Armenia are against it.
In general, the strategy itself was approved for the next 5 years, but additional review will be needed, governments and experts will join the work.
In addition to the new Strategy, politicians today discussed another 9 issues. They determined the main guidelines for macroeconomic policy for the next couple of years, additional conditions for the development of the EAEU transport market. The topic is relevant, especially given the integration format and the Chinese Silk Road Initiative. And finally, when importing EAEU goods into the free economic zones of Russia, it will be possible not to pay VAT. This means that conditions have been created for the competition of our goods and those that will be imported from outside the union.
The leaders also considered the application of Cuba - this country strives to become an observer in the association. Once again, all the nuances of this crucial step will be explained to Cuban colleagues.
A new meeting of the EAEU leaders will be held at the end of the year. But if circumstances require, the politicians are again ready to return to the videoconference format.
EAEU Leaders Summit held via video conference
19 May 2020