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Introduction to the eurasian economic union


EvgenyVinokurov

IntroductiontotheEurasianEconomicUnion


EvgenyVinokurov
EurasianDevelopmentBank,StPetersburg,Russia

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“IntroductiontotheEurasianEconomicUnionbyEvgenyVinokurovisamustreadforall
expertsandpractitionersspecializingintheEurasianspace.IntroductiontotheEurasian
EconomicUnionbyEvgenyVinokurovincludesallwhatyouneedtoknowaboutitsevolution,
structure,policiesandpractices.Balanced,reliableandclearlywritten,thisbookisan
essentialcompaniontostudentsandallinterestedintheregion.Easytofollowbutcomplex
incontent,thisisanultimateintroductiontotheEurasianEconomicUnionshowingits
development,successesandfailures.Perfectforstudentsandgeneralpublic.”
—PiotrDutkiewicz,ProfessorofPoliticalScienceCarletonUniversity,Ottawa
“TheEurasianEconomicUnionhasbecomeanimportantinstrumentinRussia’sregional
andglobalstrategies.Itshistoryandmechanismsareheredescribedverythoroughlyand
readably.Avaluablehandbookforscholarsanddiplomats.EvgenyVinokurovisforsurethe
bestpersonasaninsidertoexplainitalltotheoutsider.AnyfutureprospectsforEU-Russian
relationshavetotakethisnewregionalintegrationorganisationintoaccount”.
—MichaelEmerson,CentreforEuropeanPolicyStudies,Brussels
“IntroductiontotheEurasianEconomicUnionclosesanimportantgapintheresearchon
post-Sovietregionalismandincomparativeregionalismstudiesingeneral.Itisa
comprehensivesurveyofvariousaspectsofthefunctioningoftheEAEU–fromthe
institutionalaspectsandtheexternaleconomicrelationstothehistoryoftheorganization
anditsplaceamongotherregionalalliances.Thestudymanagestocombineadeepand
detailedanalysiswithbeingclearandopentoawideaudience.Beingbasedonasoberand
non-ideologicalapproachtotheEAEU,itisarealencyclopaediaofthecurrentstateofthe
post-Sovietregionalism–amustreadforthestudentsofpost-Sovieteconomyandpolitics!”
—AlexanderLibman,UniversityofMunich


Introduction


25Years:IntegrationRequiresPatience
ThisbookisontheEurasianEconomicUnion(EAEU)—itscontent;evolution;organization;
economicintegrationissues;operationofcommonmarketsforgoods,services,capital,and
labour;andforeigneconomicrelations.Istrivetoprovideabalancedanalysisusingavariety
ofapproaches.NotonlydoIproviderichdataabouttheeconomics,politics,institutions,
commonmarkets,andforeigneconomicrelationsoftheUnion,butIalsotrytoexplainwhy
Eurasianintegrationprocesseshavedevelopedthewaytheyhaveandnototherwise.Inthe
lastchapterofthebook,Iindicatethepotentialobjectivesandlikelyproblemsofthenext
years.
TheEAEUisayoungregionalorganization.Itbeganfunctioningasacustomsunionin
2011.Itbeganoperatingasanaspiringeconomicunionin2015.Memberstatesestablished
theEAEUbasedonacertainunderstandingoftheirlong-termpoliticalandeconomic
objectives.Inthiscontext,itsmainpurposeistohelpmemberstatesrealizethepotentialof
regionaleconomicties,modernizenationaleconomies,andcreatetheconditionsnecessary
toenterglobalmarkets.Establishingasinglemarketforgoods,services,capital,andlabouris
themainaimofEurasianintegration.AdditionalinfrastructuresupportingEurasian
integration—CourtoftheEAEU,EurasianDevelopmentBank,EurasianFundforStabilization
andDevelopment—isalreadyfunctioningwithintheEAEU.Initiativestoformpolitical
institutions(e.g.,aparliament)arenotontheagenda.
TheEAEUrepresentsaseriousachievementforitsmembersafterseveral“integration
falsestarts”inthe1990s–2000s.Memberstatesmustovercomeamultitudeofobstaclesin
thefuture,buttheUnionisalreadyarealitytoday.Thisassertionengendersnoparticular
objectionsifcriticsdonotholdtheEAEUtoinflatedstandards,forexample,donotcompareit
withtheEuropeanUnion—the“model”ofregionalintegration.IfreadersplacetheEAEU
besideotherregionalintegrationprojectsofvaryingdepthandsuccess—suchasNAFTA,
MERCOSUR,ASEAN,andtheGCC—itiseasiertoanalysetheevolutionoftheEurasian
integration.
TheEAEUhassignificantsuccesses,buttherearealsolimitationsonitsfurthergrowth.In
2015,thephaseofrapidinitialprogresscametoanend(Iwillshowthisintheanalysis
below).In2016,theintegrationblochititsfirstwaveofconflictanddifficulty.Willitbeable
toadvancefurther?Willitretrogress?ThepurposeofthisbookistodiscusstheEAEUin
termsoffactsandharddata.
Ideologically,PresidentofKazakhstanNursultanNazarbayev’sspeechinMarch1994at
MoscowStateUniversitymaybecalledthestartingpointfortheimplementationofthislargescaleinterstateproject(seeSect.1.​1;officially,thestartingpointis2007—seeSect.1.​2).He
proposedanintegrationparadigmthatwasfundamentallynewatthetime:moretowardsa
EurasianUnionbasedoneconomicsandcommondefence.
ThemechanismsoftheCommonwealthofIndependentStates(CIS)workedthroughout
theentiredecadeofthe1990s,activelysuppressingvariousdestructivedisintegration
processes.Industrialcouncilsfortransportationandelectricalenergy,whichlargelyhelped
maintainthetechnologicalintegrityofrailwaysystemsandpowergrids,playedaspecialrole.
YettheCISfailedtosolvetheproblemofa“civilizeddivorce”.


In1995,Belarus,Kazakhstan,andRussiasignedtheCustomsUnionTreaty.However,the
CustomsUniondidnotactuallystartworking.Thiswasthefirstfalsestart.
In2000,fivestates—Belarus,Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan,Russia,andTajikistan—
establishedtheEurasianEconomicCommunity(EurAsEC).Leadershavesignedmorethan
100agreementsthroughtheframeworkoftheEurAsEC.Moreover,theEurAsECservedasthe
institutionalspringboardfortheinitiativesof2006–2010.Forexample,thecommissionto
createtheCustomsUniontechnicallyworkedwithintheEurAsEC.TheEurAsECwasofficially
abolishedon1January2015inparallelwiththeestablishmentoftheEAEU.In2003,Belarus,
Kazakhstan,Russia,andUkrainesignedatreatytoformtheSingleEconomicSpace.This
initiativealsofailedtotakeoffduetotheOrangeRevolution.Thiswasthesecondfalsestart.
InOctober2007,Russia,Belarus,andKazakhstansignedanagreementtocreatea
commoncustomsterritoryandformtheCustomsUnion(CU).Theyexpectedtheactionplan
adoptedatthattime,withrespecttothecreationoftheCU,totaketwoyears.Therewere
understandabledoubtsabouttheprospectsofthelatestattempt.However,on19December
2009,theheadsofthesethreestatessignedtheJointDeclarationoftheFormationofthe
CustomsUnion,andon1January2010,theCommonCustomsTarifftookeffect.Asearlyas
2011,theCUofBelarus,Russia,andKazakhstanbeganitsnormaloperation,andon1January
2012,17agreementsformingthebasisoftheSingleEconomicSpace(SES)tookeffect.These
agreementsgovernedanumberofkeytopicsintheeconomicconvergenceofthe“Eurasian
troika”—fromcoordinatingmacroeconomicpolicytolabourmigration.
Finally,on1January2015,theTreatyontheEurasianEconomicUniontookeffect.The
treatycodifiedandexpandedallprioragreementsregardingboththeworkoftheCustoms
Unionandthedevelopmentofadditionalareasofintegration.ItenshrinedtheEAEU’s
institutionalstructure(seeChap.3)anddetailedaroadmapfortheeliminationof
exemptionsfromthecommonmarket(Chap.4).TheEurAsECformallyterminatedatthe
sametime.Newinstitutionsentirelyswallowedupitsmandateandjurisdiction.Armenia
joinedtheintegrationunionon2January2015,andKyrgyzstanjoinedon8May2015(the
decisionwasratifiedandenactedinAugust2015).1

StructureoftheBook
Thebookhassixchapters.
Chapter1isabriefexcursionintothehistoryofpost-Sovietintegrationsincethe1990s,
includingthedisintegrationprocessesofthe1990sandpartofthe2000s.Everythingstarted
withthe“civilizeddivorce”oftheformerSovietrepublicsandtheresponsiblepoliticians’and
technocrats’persistentattemptstosavecriticalelementsoftrade,economic,and
infrastructuralrelationshipsbetweencountries.Several“integrationfalsestarts”—
unsuccessfulattemptstoinaugurateeconomicintegration—followed.Intheend,thislast
attemptprovedsuccessful:thebookoutlinesthepathfromtheCustomsUnionCommission
andenactmentoftheCommonCustomsTarifftothesigningoftheagreementsontheSingle
EconomicSpaceand,finally,totheenactmentoftheTreatyontheEurasianEconomicUnion.
Chapter2beginswithabriefdescriptionofmemberstates’economiesandtheir
dependenceonthelargesteconomyoftheregion.Russia’senormousinfluenceintheUnion,
bothintermsofeconomyandpopulation,presentscertainchallengestotheintegration
project(butitalsocreatesseveralopportunitiesthatpromotestability).Importantly,theraw
materialdependenceoftheUnion’seconomy,whetherdirectorindirect,hashuge


significanceforcommontradepolicyandthebuildingofcommonmarkets.Next,Ibriefly
characterizethehighdensityofeconomictiestojustifytheneedforintegration,separately
consideringindicatorsofeconomicconvergenceandtrendsinpublicopinionregarding
questionsofeconomicintegration.
Chapter3presentsadetaileddescriptionofEAEUinstitutions—mainlytheSupremeand
IntergovernmentalCouncils,EurasianEconomicCommission,aswellastheEAEUCourt,
EurasianDevelopmentBank,andtheEurasianFundforStabilizationandDevelopment.The
underlyingdocument—theEAEUTreaty—isexaminedindetail.
Chapter4examinesthecommonmarketsforgoods,services,labour,andcapital.The
commonmarketisthe“heart”oftheintegrationproject.Thebookexaminestrendsinmutual
tradeandmutualinvestments.Itevaluatestheprogressofeliminatingexemptionfromthe
commonmarkets(EAEUTreatyroadmap).Then,itconsidersthecomplexbutsingularly
importantquestionofunifyingandminimizingtradebarriers.Idescribehowthesingle
labourmarketissetup,howitfunctions,andwhatitsconstituentpartsare(aquestionthat
affectsthelivesofmillionsofmigrantworkersandtheirfamilieseveryday).Finally,thetext
setsforthapproachesforcoordinatingthecurrency,budgetary,andmonetarypoliciesof
EAEUmemberstates.
Chapter5addressestheEAEU’sforeigneconomicrelationships:itsexpansion,the
formingnetworkoffreetradezones,andrelationshipswiththeEuropeanUnion,United
States,andChina.
Chapter6,theconcludingchapterofthebook,providesanunderstandingofthetheory
andideologyofEurasianintegration,itsobjectivesinthecomingyears,asetofinternational
comparisons,andabriefdiscussiononthedifficultchallengesthattheEAEUislikelyto
encounter.
Iwouldalsoliketodrawthereader’sattentiontotheAppendix.Itisachronologyof
Eurasianintegrationfor1991–2017(withapproximatelyonepageperyear),inwhichI
highlightthemostsignificanteconomicandpoliticalevents.
Inwritingthisbook,Istrivedtobeasconciseaspossible.Theobjectivewastoprovidethe
marketwithabookforawideraudience—economists,politicalscientists,expertson
internationalaffairs,sociologists,students,andgeneralaudiencewiththeinterestinthe
EAEUandthediverseprocessesinandaroundit.Nevertheless,Iwarnyouupfrontthat
certainpartsofthebookmaystillbe…well,boring.Thismainlyappliestothesectionsin
Chap.3ontheEAEUinstitutions—theCommission,Court,andtheIntergovernmentaland
SupremeCouncils.Furthermore,readingadescriptionoftheEAEUTreatymayalsobeboring.
Youhavebeenforewarnedandthusforearmed:youcanleafthroughthesesectionswhen
readingandthenusethemlaterasareference.ButIfeltIcouldnotexcludethisinformation
fromthecomprehensivetreatmentoftheEurasianUnion.
Thevirtualabsenceofapublishedbookthatservesasafull-fledgedintroductiontothe
EAEU—abookthatstudentsandspecialistsfromvariousfields(economists,political
scientists,expertsoninternationalaffairs,andsocialscientists)couldusetoacquaint
themselveswiththeEAEU—motivatedmetoprepareandpublishthiswork.Thiscanbe
explainednotonlybytheEAEU’syoungagebutalsobythewidespreadscepticismtowards
Eurasianintegration.Ihopemymonographwillhelpdispelsomeofthisscepticism:theEAEU
isanentirely“normal”andactiveregionalorganizationwithitsownsuccessesandfailures.
Withoutclaimingtomakeacompletesurveyoftheliterature,Iwillmentionfour


substantialmonographs—DragnevaandWolczuk(2013),VymyatninaandAntonova(2014),
DutkiewiczandSakwa(2015),andLane(2017).Thefirstofthesebooksmainlyaddresses
legalandinstitutionalmatters.Thesecondisaneconomicanalysiswithahorizonthrough
2012;thethirdanalysestheeconomic,political,social,andsecuritydevelopmentsinthe
regionwiththeparticularfocusonthecountrylevelwithahorizonthrough2013;thelastone
isabouttheEAEU’spotentialroleintheglobalcommunityanditsforeignpolicy.
Furthermore,achapterbyHancockandLibman(2016)inTheOxfordHandbookof
ComparativeRegionalismdeservesspecialmention.Itisexcellentinitscontentandbalanced
initsopinions.

Acknowledgements
ThisbookisachildofresearchpursuedbytheCentreforIntegrationStudies,anin-house
think-tankoftheEurasianDevelopmentBank.IamthusindebtofallcolleaguesattheCentre.
Iamalsogratefultonumerouscolleaguesaroundtheworldwhosecommentsstrengthened
theargumentsandlogicofthismonograph.IwouldliketoexpressdeepgratitudetoAnna
Isakovaformeticuloustechnicalassistance.
References
Dragneva,R.andWolczuk,K.(eds.)(2013).EurasianEconomicIntegration:Law,Policyand
Politics.Cheltenham:EdwarElgar.
Vymyatnina,Y.andAntonova,D.(2014).CreatingaEurasianUnion:EconomicIntegration
oftheFormerSovietRepublics.Basingstoke:PalgraveMacmillan.
Dutkiewicz,P.andSakwa,R.(eds.)(2015).EurasianIntegration:TheViewfromWithin.
Abingdon:Routledge.
Lane,D.(ed.)(2017).TheEurasianProjectinGlobalPerspective.London:Routledge.
Hancock,K.J.andLibman,A.(2016).Eurasia.In:Börzel,T.A.andRisse,T.(eds.)The
OxfordHandbookofComparativeRegionalism.Oxford:OxfordUniversityPress,pp.202–224.
Libman,A.andVinokurov,E.(2012).Holding-TogetherRegionalism:TwentyYearsof
Post-SovietIntegration.Basingstoke:PalgraveMacmillan.


ListofAbbreviations
ACF Anti-CrisisFundoftheEurasianEconomicCommunity
APEC Asia-PacificEconomicCooperation
ASEAN AssociationofSouth-EastAsiaNations
BRI BeltandRoadInitiative
BRICS agroupoffivecountries:Brazil,Russia,India,China,andSouthAfrica
CAEC CentralAsianEconomicCommunity
CCT CommonCustomsTariff
CEFIR CentreforEconomicandFinanсialResearch
CFE TreatyonConventionalArmedForcesinEurope
CIS CommonwealthofIndependentStates
CJSC closedjoint-stockcompany
CSTO CollectiveSecurityTreatyOrganization
CU CustomsUnion
EAEU EurasianEconomicUnion
EAPC Euro-AtlanticPartnershipCouncil
EAU EurasianUnion(atermusedin1990s–2000s)
EBRD EuropeanBankforReconstructionandDevelopment
EDB EurasianDevelopmentBank
EEC EurasianEconomicCommission
EFSD EurasianFundforStabilizationandDevelopment
EU EuropeanUnion
EurAsEC EurasianEconomicCommunity
FDI foreigndirectinvestment
FTA freetradearea
GCC CooperationCouncilfortheArabStatesoftheGulf
GDP grossdomesticproduct
GUAM
aregionalorganizationconsistingoffourcountries:Georgia,Ukraine,Azerbaijan,and
Moldova
HSCode HarmonizedSystemCode
IMEMO
PrimakovNationalResearchInstituteofWorldEconomyandInternationalRelations
(RussianAcademyofSciences)
IMF InternationalMonetaryFund


IT informationtechnologies
MERCOSUR SouthernCommonMarket
NAFTA NorthAmericanFreeTradeAgreement
NATO NorthAtlanticTreatyOrganization
NTB non-tariffbarrier
OJSC openjoint-stockcompany
PJSC publicjoint-stockcompany
PPP purchasingpowerparity
PRC People’sRepublicofChina
RO regionalorganization
SACU SouthernAfricanCustomsUnion
SCO ShanghaiCooperationOrganization
SEEC SupremeEurasianEconomicCouncil(SupremeCouncil)
SES SingleEconomicSpace
TNC transnationalcompany
UESCA UnitedEnergySystemofCentralAsia
UN UnitedNations
UNCTAD UnitedNationsConferenceonTradeandDevelopment
USA UnitedStatesofAmerica
USRB UnionStateofRussiaandBelarus
USSR UnionofSovietSocialistRepublics
VAT value-addedtax
WIIW ViennaInstituteforInternationalEconomicStudies
WTO WorldTradeOrganization


Contents
1TheHistoryofEurasianIntegration:​1991–2016
2EconomicandSocialTies
3EAEUInstitutions
4CommonMarketsWithintheEurasianEconomicUnion:​MovementofGoods,Services,
Labour,andCapital
5EurasianEconomicUnion:​ForeignEconomicRelations
6A“Normal”RegionalOrganization:​ExplainingEurasianIntegration
Appendix1:ChronologyofEurasianIntegration,1991–2017
References
Index


ListofFigures
Fig.2.1DistributionofGDPintheEAEUin2016.(Source:EDBCentreforIntegrationStudies
2017)


Fig.2.2DistributionofpopulationintheEAEUin2016.(Source:EDBCentreforIntegration
Studies2017)


Fig.2.3Per-capitaGDPofEAEUmemberstates,$thousands.(Source:IMF)


Fig.2.4PublicopinionoftheEAEUinmemberstatesin2012–2016(%ofdifferentanswers).
(Note:surveyparticipantswereaskedthefollowingquestion:“Armenia,Belarus,Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan,andRussiajoinedtheEAEU(essentiallyasinglemarketforthefivecountries).
Whatisyouropinionofthisdecision?”.Source:EDBIntegrationBarometer2016)


Fig.2.5Publicopinionregardingsupportforacountry’smembershipintheEAEU,groupedby
age(%ofdifferentanswers).(Source:EDBIntegrationBarometer2015)


Fig.2.6PublicopinionoftheEAEUinnon-memberstatesin2012–2016(%ofdifferent
answers).(Note:ThesurveysaskedthefollowingquestionincountriesthatarenotEAEU
members:“Armenia,Belarus,Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan,andRussiajoinedtheEurasian
EconomicUnion(essentiallyasinglemarketforfivecountries).Doyouthinkitwouldbe
desirableforourcountrytojointhisUnion?”.Source:EDBIntegrationBarometer2016)


Fig.3.1SectionsoftheEAEUTreatyregulatingtheSingleEconomicSpace.(Source:EDB
CentreforIntegrationStudies)


Fig.4.1GeographicstructureofexportsandimportswithintheEAEU,%.(Source:EEC)


Fig.4.2StructureofEAEUexports:rawmaterialsandmanufacturedgoods,%.(Source:EDB
CentreforIntegrationStudies2017a)


Fig.4.3StructureoftheEAEU’sforeigntradeturnoverwiththirdpartiesin2015and2016,%.
(Source:EDBCentreforIntegrationStudies2017a)



Fig.4.4Stagesfor“buildingout”theEAEU’scommonmarkets.(Source:EDBCentrefor
IntegrationStudies)


Fig.4.5MutualFDIstockofCIScountriesandEAEUmemberstates.(Source:EDBCentrefor
IntegrationStudies2017b)


Fig.4.6Ratioofper-capitaGDP(PPP)intheEAEUcountriestoper-capitaGDP(PPP)in
Russia,ratio.(Note:Per-capitaGDP(PPP)inRussiaistakentobe1.Source:Authors’
calculations)


Fig.5.1GeographicalstructureofChineseFDIintheEAEU,$billion,asofend-2016.(Source:
EDBCentreforIntegrationStudies)


Fig.5.2MapofpotentialBRItransportcorridors.(Source:EurasianDevelopmentBank)


Fig.6.1GDPpercapitaatpurchasingpowerparity,$.(Source:CalculationsbasedonIMF
data)


Fig.6.2Shareofmutualtradeintotaltradeturnover,%.(Note:ASEANandNAFTAdatafor
2015,SACUdatafor2010and2016.Source:CalculationsbasedonTradeMapdata)


Fig.6.3Structureofexportswithabreakdownbybroadeconomiccategories,%.(Source:
CalculationsbasedonCOMTRADE)


Fig.6.4MFN-appliedaverage-weightedtariff.(Source:TRAINS)


Fig.6.5ShareofmigrantsfromwithintheROintotalpopulation.Source:EDBRegional
IntegrationDatabase,basedonUNdata(internationalmigrationtrends)




ListofTables
Table2.1IndicatorsofsocioeconomicdevelopmentofEAEUmemberstates,2016


Table2.2PublicopinioninEAEUmemberstatesregardingmembershipintheUnion(by
populationsegmentswithdifferentlevelsofincome)(%ofdifferentanswers)


Table3.1OrganizationalstructureoftheEEC


Table4.1MutualtradevolumesofEAEUmemberstates,2011–2016,$million


Table4.2MutualtradeexportsasapercentageoftheEAEU’stotalexports,%


Table4.3MutualtradeimportsapercentageoftheEAEU’stotalimports,%


Table4.4AmountofmoneytransfersandremittancesfromindividualsfromRussiato
ArmeniaandKyrgyzstanin2014–2016,$million


Table4.5MutualdirectinvestmentsbyEAEUmemberstatesattheendof2016


Table4.6EAEUcountries’mutualFDIandtheoutsideworld’sFDIintheEAEU


Table4.7Medium-terminflationtargetsinEAEUmemberstates,%


Table5.1AreasofcurrentworkonEAEUtradeandeconomicagreementsasof1July2017


Table5.2GDPandpopulationintheEUandEAEUin2016


Table5.3TradeturnoverbetweenChinaandEAEUcountries(2008–2016),$billion





ListofBoxes
Box1.1ListofSingleEconomicSpaceAgreementsEnactedSince1January2012


Box2.1IntegrationBarometer:ANoteontheMethodology


Box3.1ChairpersonsoftheEECBoard


Box3.2EECInteractionwiththeBusinessCommunity


Box3.3WhereCanEurasianInstitutionsBeLocated?


Box3.4RegulatoryFrameworkoftheCourtoftheEurAsEC/EAEU


Box3.5TheUnfulfilledPlantoTransformEDBintotheShanghaiCooperationOrganization’s
DevelopmentBank


Box3.6WhyAreRegionalDevelopmentBanksCreated?


Box3.7EFSD:A“RegionalIMF”?


Box4.1ElectricPowerIndustryofEAEUMemberStates


Box4.2ConflictsintheEAEUCommonMarket


Box4.3TechnicalRegulation


Box4.4ImportanceofLabourMigrationandtheCommonLabourMarketforKyrgyzstan


Box4.5WhyDoWeNeedtoUsea“Bottom-Up”ApproachtoMonitorCross-Border


Investments?


Box5.1EAEUandWTO


Box6.1TwoEurasianIntegrations




Footnotes
1 SystematicsurveysoftheevolutionofEurasianintegrationarepresentedinHancockandLibman(2016)andLibmanand
Vinokurov(2012).




©TheAuthor(s)2018
EvgenyVinokurov,IntroductiontotheEurasianEconomicUnion
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-92825-8_1

1.TheHistoryofEurasianIntegration:1991–2016
EvgenyVinokurov1
(1) EurasianDevelopmentBank,StPetersburg,Russia


EvgenyVinokurov

1.1 “CivilizedDivorce”andFalseStartsofthe1990sand
2000s
Comprehensiveandfar-reachinginternationalprojectsoftenhavedifficultygettingoffthe
ground.TheestablishmentoftheEurasianEconomicUnion(EAEU)isaseriousachievement
foritsmembersafterthecollapseoftheUSSRandthedisruptionofproductionchainsformed
overcenturieseveninthedaysoftheRussianEmpire.Atthebeginningofthe1990s,Soviet
republicsprioritizedminimizinglossesaboveallelse.Thebodiesandindustrycouncilsofthe
CommonwealthofIndependentStates(CIS)pursuedthiscriticallyimportantobjective.The
uninterruptedoperationoftherailwaysandpowergridsdependedonitssuccessful
achievement.Atthattime,politiciansandexpertssimultaneouslytriedtocreateaworking
planforeconomicintegrationunderthenewconditionsofindependenceandthetransition
toamarketeconomy.
Thestartingpointfordiscussingquestionsofpost-Sovietregionalintegrationwasthe
needtocometoanagreementregardingthefuturefateoftheUSSRin1991.Amidthe
precipitouscollapse,thestateideaofcreatinga“weak”confederation—theUnionof
SovereignStates—didnotfindsupportamongtheSovietrepublics.InDecember1991,three
headsofstate,representingRussia,Ukraine,andBelarus,signedanagreementtoterminate
theexistenceoftheSovietUnionandtosimultaneouslysetuptheCIS.Soonafterwards,
CentralAsianstatesjoinedtheCIS.
Fromtheverybeginning,theCISdidnotharbouranyambitionstobecomeafederated
stateoneday.Theorganization’smembershipformedquickly:12of15Sovietrepublics(all
excepttheBalticStates)joinedtheCISby1993.However,thelistofagreementsthathadtobe
signedbyallCISmemberstateswasmodestatthattimeanddidnotevenincludetheCIS
Charter.Legislatively,theCISdistinguishesbetweenaCommonwealth“member”and
“associate”dependingonwhetherthestatehasratifiedtheCISCharter.Memberstateshad
therighttorefusevirtuallyeveryagreement,whichtheyinfactdidsystematically;many
countriessignedcertainagreementswithspecificprovisionsandlimitations.However,in
1992–1993,post-SovietintegrationwasexplicitlylinkedtotheCIS;mostoftheagreements
signedinthisperiodrelateddirectlytothisorganization.However,thiswasalsothemost


contradictoryperiodintheintegrationprocess.Intheseyears,morethanintegration,the
countriesoftheformerUSSRworriedaboutfindingapeacefulresolutiontopotential
differencesandconflictsassociatedwithdisintegrationthroughaprocessfrequentlyreferred
tointheliteratureasa“civilizeddivorce”.
TheideaofaEurasianUnion(EAU)firstappearedatahighlevelinaspeechbyNursultan
NazarbayevatMoscowStateUniversityon29March1994.Thepreviousweek,while
speakingattheChathamHouseinLondon,thepresidentofKazakhstannotedthattwotrends
definedthedevelopmentofthepost-Sovietspace:ontheonehand,thenation-buildingand—
ontheotherhand—theneedforintegration,soitwas“reasonabletocreatearealworking
unionofstatesonthebasisofa‘nucleusofcountries’”.1InhisMoscowspeech,Nazarbayev
directlymentionedtwocomponentsofafutureEurasianUnion:deepeconomicintegration
(preciselywhatEAEUinstitutionsareworkingon)andadefenceunion(implementedasthe
CollectiveSecurityTreatyOrganization[CSTO]).
Thetimehascometotakeourcountries’relationshipstoaqualitativelynewlevel
throughnewinterstateassociationsandbasedontheprinciplesofvoluntaryaction
andequality.ThisassociationcouldhavebeentheEurasianUnion(EAU),whichwasto
bebuiltonprinciplesotherthanthoseoftheCIS,sincethenewassociation’s
foundationwastobebuiltbysupranationalbodiescalledontohandletwocritical
tasks:formtheSingleEconomicSpaceandsupportapolicyofjointdefence.However,
itisimportanttoemphasizethatallothermatterspertainingtosovereignty,domestic
stateandpoliticalstructure,andeachmember’sforeignpolicyactivities,remain
inviolableandassumesnon-interferenceineachother’sinternalaffairs.2
In1995,the“troika”(Belarus,Kazakhstan,andRussia),whichtodayremainthecoreof
Eurasianintegration,3signedtheCustomsUnionTreaty.Thedocumentcalledforthe
eliminationofbarrierstofreeeconomicinteractionbetweentheparties’commercialentities
andsupportforfreeexchangeofgoodsandhonestcompetition.However,theagreements
werenotactuallyimplemented:thecentrifugalforcesofthe1990sweretoopowerful.In
1995,theCustomsUnion(CU)becamethefirstintegrationfalsestart.
2April1997sawthebirthofanotherintegrationassociationthatstandsaloneinthe
historyofEurasianintegration—theUnionStateofRussiaandBelarus(USRB).On26January
2000,thesecountriesenactedtheUnionStateTreaty,whichhadbeenseparatelysignedin
1999.WewillnotgointodetailabouttheUSRB:itsactivitiesaretangentialtothemaintrack
ofEurasianintegrationfollowingtheCIS-EurAsEC-CU/SES-EAEUline,chieflyduetothe
bilateralnatureoftheassociation.Still,wewillbrieflyenumerateafewoftheachievementsof
theUnionState.Themostimportantofthemistheabolishmentofbordercontrol.Travellers
werethefirsttonotice:trainscrosstheRusso-Belarusianborder“unheeded”,justlikethe
bordersofcountriesintheSchengenarea.ThisdoesnothappenanywhereelseinthepostSovietspace,evenbetweenRussiaandKazakhstan.Therearealsoseverallesssubstantial
results—intermsofthelabourmarketandcloseinteractionbetweenparliamentsinthe
ParliamentaryAssembly.
On26February1999inMoscow,thepresidentsofBelarus,Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan,
Russia,andTajikistansignedtheTreatyontheCustomsUnionandtheSingleEconomicSpace
(SES).


On23May2000inMinskatameetingoftheIntergovernmentalCouncil,theCouncil
decidedtocreate,beforeSeptember2000,adraftofatreatytoformaninterstateintegration
associationconsistingofBelarus,Kazakhstan,Kyrgyzstan,theRussianFederation,and
Tajikistan.On10October2000inAstana,thefivestatesestablishedtheEurasianEconomic
Community(EurAsEC).TheprimarydifferencebetweentheEurAsECandtheCISwasthe
abandonmentoftheabilitytoselectivelyparticipateinagreements.Anotherdifferenceis
votingbyaweightedmajorityofvotes(intheCIS,decisionsareadoptedonlythrough
consensus;however,inpracticetheEurAsECalsomadedecisionsthroughconsensus).4
Overall,theEurAsEChasnotbeenabletomeettheexpectationsplaceduponitin2000.
Integrationdeepenedslightlyinspiteofthelargeflowofagreementsandotherdocuments.
However,itwouldalsobeentirelywrongtoregardthisorganizationasafailure.Amassof
bilateralagreementsbetweenseparatestates—RussiaandKazakhstan,RussiaandBelarus,
andsoon—achievedanincreaseintheoveralllevelofactualintegration.5Moreover,the
EurAsECblazedthetrailfortheEAEU—moreonthisbelow.
In2003,thepresidentsofBelarus,Kazakhstan,Russia,andUkrainesignedanagreement
tocreatetheSES.TheOrangeRevolutionof2004destroyedhopesforthesuccessofthis
endeavour,whichisasourceofregrettothisday.Afterall,memberstatestookUkraine’s
involvementintheEurasianintegrationprocessesseriouslyandconsideredittobe
economicallyexpedient.Thiswasthesecondfalsestart.
Overall,integrationprogressedslowlyattheinstitutionallevelinthefirsthalfofthe
2000s,chieflyduetotheintegrationbloc’smisfortuneinvolvingUkraine,onwhichthe
memberstatespinnedbighopes.Thesituationbegantochangeinthesecondhalfofthe
2000s.Thankstothesharpriseinoilprices,RussiaandKazakhstanreceivedresourcesfor
economicdevelopment.Mutualtrade,mutualinvestments,andlabourmigration—the
elementsofso-calledbottom-upintegration—begantogrowexplosively.Thegrowingwealth
hadapositiveeffectontheeconomiesofneighbouringstatesthroughseveraltransmission
channels—trade,investment,credit,andremittances.
Thesestrengtheningeconomictiesrequireinstitutionalsupport.TheEurasian
DevelopmentBank(EDB),thenewwave’sfirstintegrationtool,whichwasfoundedby
KazakhstanandRussiain2006with$1.5billioncapital,isanexampleofaninstitution
providingthissupport.Atleast50%oftheBank’screditfacilitiespertaintointegration.They
aimatprojectsthatcreategrowthinmutualinvestmentsandtrade.Symbolically,theBank’s
headquartersisinAlmaty(seeSect.3.​4).
TherealbreakthroughinbuildingEurasianintegrationinstitutionsoccurredonlyatthe
endofthe2000samidtheresponsetotheglobaleconomiccrisis.Attheendof2009,member
statessigneddocumentsontheCU.Inthissameyear,theyalsosigneddocumentstocreate
theEurAsECAnti-CrisisFund(ACF)(seeSect.3.​5).

1.2 TheCU,SES,andEurasianEconomicUnion(2007–2015)
Theglobalfinancialcrisisof2007–2009hadahugeimpactonallEurasianeconomies.The
negativeeffectscamethroughdiversechannels—prices(exportpricesforrawmaterials),
remittances,investmentflows,andmanyothers.ThegreatestdeclineinGDPtookplacein
2009.Thecrisissimultaneouslydevaluednationalcurrency,andmajorgovernment
interventionstookplace.Theseactionsonlyslightlysoftenedtheblowofthecrisis.The


theoreticalliteraturetraditionallynotesthateconomiccriseshaveanegativeeffecton
integration:countriesareinclinedtocloseupandraisecustomsprotectionsfordomestic
markets.However,inthe“integrationcore”ofthepost-Sovietspace,thecrisisincentivized
themtofindnewsolutions!InSect.6.​2,wediscussindetailtheconceptofholding-together
integration,whichexplainswhythishappened.Inpractice,atleasttwomajordecisions
followedin2009–2010:first,thedecisiontocreatetheCU(discussedbelow),andsecond,the
decisiontoformtheEurAsECAnti-CrisisFundwithroughly$8.5billioninon-callcapital(see
Sect.3.​5).
Alittlebitofhistory.InOctober2007,Russia,Belarus,andKazakhstanmadethedecision
tomovetowardstheCU.Thestatedgoalsoftheactionplanweretoensurethefree
movementofgoodsundermutualtrade,createfavourableconditionsfortradewiththird
parties,andadvanceeconomicintegration.
Fewbelievedthisnewattemptwouldsucceedgiventhedisappointmentoftheprevious
endeavours.However,preciselyafterthetwoplannedyearsofpreparation,on19December
2009inthecityofAlmaty,PresidentsA.G.Lukashenko,D.A.Medvedev,andN.A.Nazarbayev
signedtheJointDeclarationoftheFormationoftheCU.Thenon1January2010,theCommon
CustomsTariff(CCT)tookeffect.Theeconomiccrisistriggeredthissuccess,whichpushed
thecountriestowardsunification.6Wealsobelievethatspecificpeoplemadeanimportant
contribution:theactivitiesoftheCUCommissionreceivedorganizationsupportfromthe
entireEurAsECsecretariat.Ofcourse,thewillandconstantattentionofthepoliticalleadersof
thethreestatesplayedahugerole.Withoutthem,thenationalbureaucratswouldhave
probablywatereddowntheCU.
TheCUofRussia,Kazakhstan,andBelaruswasthebreakthroughfromwhichfollowedthe
SingleEconomicSpaceAgreementof2012,theEAEUTreatyof2015,andthelong-awaited
CustomsCode.In2010,theCCTtookeffect.Itseriouslyinfluencedthetradepolicyofthe
Union’smemberstates.Severalcountriesmademajoradjustmentstotheircustomstariffs.
Moreover,Russialeft82%ofcustomstariffsunchanged,reducingonly14%oftariffswhile
increasing4%oftariffs;Kazakhstanretained45%oftariffs,reducing10%ofthemand
increasing45%ofthem.Furthermore,itwasfarfromclearatthatpointwhethertheCU
wouldcometolife:Belaruswashighlycriticalofthisintegrationproject,mainlyduetoissues
associatedwiththeoiltrade.Ultimately,allthreecountriessignedtheagreementandtheCCT
tookeffect.
TheCUisthefirstpost-Sovietinitiativethatisafull-fledged,active,andtrulysupranational
institution.Fromtheoutset,theCUactivelyutilizedadecision-makingprocessthatimpacted
trade.Before2010,theregion’sstatesmanagedtomaintainacertainlevelofcooperation
onlyinspecificareas:railwayshipments,aviationsafetystandards,andpowergrids.
AfterthecreationoftheCU,theEAEUputinplacethenextlayerofeconomicintegration:
itenacted17agreements(Box1.1)after1January2012;theyformedthebasisoftheSESand
definedtheEurasianproject’scontentandprogressforseveralyears—rightuptothe
enactmentoftheEAEUTreaty.Theseagreementsgovernedanumberofkeytopicsinthe
economicconvergenceofthe“trio”—fromcoordinatingmacroeconomicpolicytolabour
migration.TheSESagreementsaugmentedtheCU’sregulations.Memberstatessubsequently
expandedandcodifiedtheseagreementsintheEAEUTreatyanditsappendices.
Box1.1 ListofSingleEconomicSpaceAgreementsEnactedSince1January2012


1.
2.
3.
4.


AgreementonCommonRulesofStateSupportforAgriculture

AgreementonCommonRulesforProvidingIndustrialSubsidies

AgreementonRegulationofAccesstoRailwayTransportationServices,Includingthe
AgreementonCommonPrinciplesandRulesofCompetition

FundamentalsofTariffPolicy
5.
6.
7.

AgreementonTradinginServicesandInvestmentsinMemberStatesoftheSingle
EconomicSpace
AgreementonCommonPrinciplesofRegulationintheDefenceandProtectionof
IntellectualProperty





8.
AgreementonState(Municipal)Procurement

9.
AgreementontheLegalStatusofMigrantWorkersandTheirFamilyMembers

10.
AgreementonCooperationtoCombatIllegalLabourMigrationfromThirdStates

11.
AgreementonCoordinatedMacroeconomicPolicy

12.
AgreementonCoordinatedPrinciplesofCurrencyPolicy

13.
AgreementontheCreationofFinancialMarketConditionstoEnsureFreeMovement
AgreementonCommonPrinciplesandRulesofTechnicalRegulation

ofCapital

14.
15.
16.
17.

AgreementonCommonPrinciplesandRulesofRegulationoftheActivitiesofNatural
Monopolies
AgreementtoEnsureAccesstoServicesofNaturalMonopoliesinthePowerIndustry,
IncludingtheFundamentalsofPrice-SettingandTariffPolicy
AgreementonRulesofAccesstoServicesofNaturalMonopoliesinGasSupplyUsing
GasSupplySystems,IncludingtheFundamentalsofPrice-SettingandTariffPolicy
AgreementontheProcedurefortheOrganization,Management,Operation,and
DevelopmentofCommonMarketsforOilandOilProducts






On29May2014,atameetingoftheSupremeEurasianEconomicCouncil(SEEC),the
presidentsofthememberstatesoftheCUandtheSESsignedtheEurasianEconomicUnion


Treaty,whichsignifiedtheEurasianeconomicproject’stransitiontoanew,deeperlevelof
integration.
On1January2015,theEurasianEconomicUnionTreatytookeffect.On2January,
Armeniajoinedtheintegrationunion,andinMayKyrgyzstansignedanagreementtojoin(the
documenttookeffectinAugust2015).
InFebruary2016,thefirstfour-yeartermoftheEurasianEconomicCommission(EEC)
ended.Thisrequiredachangeinthetopleaders(chairmanandmembersoftheEECBoard).
TigranSargsyan,formerprimeministerofArmenia,becameheadofthecollegeforthenext
four-yearterm(until2020).Thiscanbeviewedasapositivesignal.First,themechanismfor
aninterstaterotationthroughthepostofchairmanoftheboardworked(arepresentativeof
BelarusistobecomethenextheadoftheEECin2020).Second,atop-levelpoliticianwith
workexperiencedirectlyrelatedtointegrationbuildingheadedtheCommission.InChap.3,
weconsiderindetailhowtheCommissionandotherbodiesoftheEurasianUnionoperate.
ThesigningandenactmentoftheEAEUTreatyarenotthefinalwordsintheintegration
process.Onthecontrary,theTreatyoutlinesaplantomovetowardsthecommonmarkets
thathadnotbeencreatedasofthebeginningof2015.Theyincludeacommonmarketfor
drugsandmedicalproducts(enactedinMay2017);commonmarketforelectricalenergy
(plannedfor2019);commonfinancialmarkets(2022–2025);andacommonmarketforoil,
gas,andoilproducts(2024–2025).ThesearediscussedinChap.4.
Inthenextchapter,wediscussingreaterdetailtheeconomicfeaturesofEAEUmember
statesandhowtheyinfluencetheregionalorganization(RO’s)institutionaldesign.Although
wespecificallyfocusontheeconomy(whichisonlynaturalsincetheEAEUpursueseconomic
integration),wemustmentionatleastoneunderlyingpoliticalcharacteristic.TheEAEUisa
unionofprimarilyautocraticstates.Theliteraturefrequentlymakestheargumentthat
autocraciesarefundamentallyincapableofimplementingeconomicregionalintegration
associations.Thisargumentiseasilyoverthrownbytheempiricalevidence—simplylookat
theregionalintegrationintheGulf,theEAEU,ortheSouthAfricanCustomUnionbeforethe
1990s(manyASEANcountriesarealsonobeaconsofdemocracy).
Infact,undercertainconditions,regionalintegrationagreementsareimplemented
betweenautocraticstates.LibmanandVinokurov(2018)showedthataneconomicregional
integrationagreementisimplementedundereitherofthefollowingtwocircumstances:(a)if
thereisanintermediatelevelofdependence(inthiscasetheimplementationisnotmerelya
responsetopressurefromalargestateandcouldhappenproactively)and(b)ifthereisa
highlevelofvulnerabilitydependencewithalargecountrypushingforimplementation.At
thesametime,autocraticintegrationhassomeinherentrestraints.TheEAEUcorroborates
thesefindings.
Wewillnowmovetothechapterentitled“EconomicandSocialTies”.Animportant
caveat:inouranalysisweplaceparticularemphasison(1)macroeconomiccharacteristics,
(2)tradeflows,(3)investmentflows,and(4)labourmigration.Wedonotexplicitlydiscuss
welfareeffectsontheEAEU.VariousorganizationsincludingWorldBank,EBRD,EDB,WIIW,
theGaidarInstitute,andCEFIRmadesuchassessments;however,theyareforward-looking
andvarywidely.Atpresent,itmaybetooearlytoassesstheEurasianUnion’sactualimpact
ontheeconomiesofitsmemberstates,thoughsurelythiswillsoonbepossible.


References
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HistoricalandDocumentaryResearch.Almaty:KazakhEncyclopaedia.
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[Crossref]
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Footnotes
1 Citedin:NurymbetovaandKudaibergenov(2010).P.15.


2 Nazarbayev(2012).


3 Theideaofan“integrationcore”forEurasianintegrationisquantitativelybasedonthefirstissueofthe“SystemofIndicators
ofEurasianIntegration”(Vinokurovetal.2009).


4 FormoreinformationabouttheinstitutionalstructureoftheCISandEurAsEC,see(Kaveshnikov2011;Libman2014).


5 Gleason(2004).


6 Thereisawidelyacceptedtheoreticalargumentthatcriseshinderintegrationbecausethelevelofprotectionismrisesina
crisis.Wewillprovideevidencefortheoppositehypothesis:economiccrisescanbeacatalystforintegrationprocessesifthere
areclosetiesbetweenthecountriesandalackofrealpoliticalandeconomicalternatives(VinokurovandLibman2014).




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