The Eurasian Union: New Horizons and New Questions

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After signing the Eurasian Economic Treaty in Astana, many analysts continue to ask about the economic and political capabilities of the new organization. Observers question what is more important for the Union, economic benefits or geopolitical advantages? Some see it as the re-establishment of a Soviet-like empire. The others point at President Putin’s ambitions to counter the uni-polar world and to build a new international order with many poles of influence. There are also those who criticize the project and consider it as a vain and futile effort.

 

The Union’s Statements Concerning Economic Benefits

 

The presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan have signed a Treaty to create a Eurasian Economic Union (EAU), with a target date of January 1, 2015. The binding Treaty is expected to the level of integration between the three nations. The three countries have committed to guaranteeing the free movement of goods, services, capital and labor as well as the implementation of coordinated policies in key sectors including energy, industry, agriculture and transportation [1]. President Putin of Russia stated that the Treaty aimed to create a powerful and attractive economic center for development and a major regional market uniting over 170 million people: According to Putin:

 

Our Union has immense natural resources, including energy resources. It accounts for 20 percent of the global natural gas reserves and 15 percent of oil reserves. At the same time, the three states have a developed industrial base, vast labor resources, and a powerful intellectual and cultural potential. Our geographic location makes it possible to create transportation and logistics routes of not only regional, but also global significance and attract large-scale trade from Europe and Asia” [2].

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