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4 Dec 2018

Lukashenko unveils agenda of EAEU summit in St Petersburg

Lukashenko unveils agenda of EAEU summit in St Petersburg

MINSK, 4 December (BelTA) – The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) cannot exist without free movement of labor, capital, services and goods, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said in an interview with the Russia 24 TV channel, BelTA has learned.

“I am going to St. Petersburg for a traditional meeting with the heads of state in the run-up to the New Year to discuss pressing issues. If we talk about our cooperation with Russia within the framework of the Union State and the EAEU, I have one problem: we agreed on the free movement of labor, capital, services, goods and so on. Without this, no EAEU and even Customs Union are possible,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

The president also noted that the countries agreed on equal economic conditions for all entities, on common markets. All these arrangements should be carried out, the head of state underlined. “Everybody says that Lukashenko is obsessed with gas, oil and so on. It is important for us that Belarusian enterprises work in equal conditions with companies from Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Smolensk. Then we will have a normal competitive environment. What it means when an enterprise in Kazakhstan or Russia works in better conditions than ours? It means that our enterprises will go off the market over time,” the Belarusian leader said.

The Belarusian leader cited energy costs as an example. For Belarusian companies the price for gas is several times higher than for Russian ones. This affects both the producers and also Belarus as a whole. “This results in differences in salaries in Belarus and Russia. This means unequal conditions. These are the matters I plan to raise during the summit,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

Another issue that Belarus is concerned about is the distribution of import customs duties among the EAEU countries. “After two years we see that we receive less. We understand why it happens. Russia also receives slightly less than it is supposed to. Therefore, let us act as we agreed on. The mechanism needs to be revised every two years,” said the president. According to him, today all the parties agree that the mechanism needs adjusting.

 

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