Putin promotes ‘Eurasian Schengen’ in first program article
Vladimir Putin has proposed the creation of a new international power nexus between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region in an article in the Izvestia daily.
The Izvestia article, published on Tuesday, mainly covers the economic dimension of the proposed union, but also touches upon the political aspects of the project.Putin writes that the creation of the joint economic space in 2012 is an integration project of prime importance and will constitute a historic landmark not only for Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, but for all countries in the post-Soviet space.“We suggest creating a powerful supra-national union capable of becoming a pole in the modern world, and at the same time an effective connection between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific Region.”The Prime Minister also states that the Customs Union started in 2011 and the anticipated joint economic space would form the basis for a future Eurasian Economic Union and later the Eurasian Union – a political organization similar to the European Union today.The Russian Prime Minister describes the Eurasian Union as an open project. “We welcome other partners to join it, first of all the countries of the Commonwealth [of Independent States], but we are not going to hurry or push anyone,” Putin writes.At the same time the Russian premier stresses that the new union will not oppose Europe in any way. “Some of our neighbors explain their unwillingness to take part in advanced integration projects in the post-Soviet space on the assumption that it contradicts their alleged European choice. But this is a false crossroads. We are not going to fence ourselves in from anyone or counter anyone. The Eurasian Union will be created on the principle of universal integration as an inseparable part of a greater Europe united by common values of freedom, democracy and market laws,” Putin writes.Besides, Putin stresses that the new formation would by no means be an attempt to bring back the Soviet Union. “We are not talking about resurrecting the USSR in any form, but close integration on the basis of new values, politics and economy is the order of the day,” Putin writes.Besides, Putin writes that citizens of the Eurasian Union member-countries will enjoy greater freedom of travel and choice of place for education and work than citizens of the USSR had, with the proposed Eurasian Union employing a more relaxed registration policy. For businessmen the Eurasian Union will facilitate access to new dynamic markets and to government tenders by all union member-countries. Also, businessmen will be allowed freely choose the country to register their companies in which will boost competition between the bureaucracies and enhance general efficiency in all countries of the union.The Russian Prime Minister concludes that the foundation of the Eurasian Union will forge a path for its members through the complicated world of the 21st century and become leaders in progress towards global growth and civilization, to the ultimate goals of success and prosperity.Prime Minister’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov on Tuesday afternoon said that the integration within the Eurasian Union does not exclude further broadening of Russia’s cooperation with the European Union. “The cooperation might go forth at different pace, but one thing absolutely does not exclude the other,” the RIA Novosti news agency quoted Peskov as saying.Read the full text of Vladimir Putin's article