On May 29, 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Belarusian and Kazakh counterparts, Alexander Lukashenko and Nursultan Nazarbayev, met at the Kazakh capital, Astana, where they signed a treaty creating the Eurasian Economic Union, comprising Belarus, Kazakhstan, and the Russian Federation.
“The just-signed treaty is of epoch-making, historic importance,” Vladimir Putin said. According to Putin, the new treaty will bring three founding member states into a new level of integration.
Under the treaty, workers in all three countries will be granted the right to migrate and work anywhere within the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) without having to obtain special work permits. The treaty also calls for increased cooperation in the energy, industrial, agricultural, and transportation sectors.
Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan are already members in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a regional confederation of states initially created by the leadership of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union as an attempt to preserve the territorial integrity of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics at the time of its “breakup,” in December 1991.
“In fact, we are shaping the largest common market in the CIS, with huge production, scientific and technological potential and enormous natural resources,” Putin said of the new EEU treaty. He further elaborated:
We ensure a close and coherent economic collaboration and cooperation. Today we have created a powerful and attractive center of economic development, a large regional market that brings together more than 170 [million] people. Our union has huge reserves of natural resources, including energy, which accounts for one fifth of the world’s gas reserves and 15 percent of oil reserves.
Compromising over 170 million people, 2.5 percent of the world’s population, and accounting for 15 percent of the world’s total landmass, the new EEU will reduce trade and other existing economic barriers between the three “ex”-Soviet republics.
“The geographical position permits us to create transport, logistic routes of not only regional, but also global importance that permits attracting massive trade flows in Europe and Asia,” Putin told reporters prior to signing ceremony for the EEU treaty in Astana.
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