Putin to visit Brussels as ‘Eurasian Union’ leader

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the EU-Russia summit in Brussels later this month. But he will make sure his hosts welcome him as the representative of the Eurasian Union – Putin’s pet geopolitical project, which bears similarities to the EU.

The summit is the second to take place this year, after a first summit in St. Petersburg in June where Putin listed conditions for signing a new basic treaty between Russia and the EU.

Putin said he would not advance negotiations unless the EU formalised relations with the so-called Common Economic Space involving Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan (see background). The three countries have also forged a customs union.

Russia wants its new basic treaty to include its new agreement with neighbouring countries. But his EU counterparts – European Commission President José Manuel Barroso and Council President Herman Van Rompuy – explained that the Union did not have a mandate for negotiations with the Common Economic Space.

Kostanian had compared the EU in its early stages with the Eurasian Union at the present moment. He pointed at the union’s unbalanced structure (Russia being “too big” compared to its partners), as well as Moscow’s limited exchange with Belarus and Kazakhstan, in comparison with the relatively big dependence of these countries from the Russian economy.

Peter Balas, deputy director general for trade in the EU Commission, for his part shared the conclusions of the CEPS report and described the CU as “no more than a partial customs union”.

He said that the EU would welcome the creation of another customs union in its neighbourhood if it contributed to the liberalisation of economic relations.

Full article: Putin to visit Brussels as ‘Eurasian Union’ leader (EurAktiv)

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