'Citizens will have the opportunity to take out loans in any of the states of 'big five' of the EAEU'

Russia is preparing to sign an agreement that will make it possible to issue loans to citizens from the CIS; Kazakhstan is calling for funds for industrial cooperation

Heads of governments of Russia and the “big five” of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) completed the two-day work in Kazan to expand integration between the countries by 2025 on 30 April. After the “coronavirus” downturn in the economy, Russia proposed to remove trade barriers within the union, move towards creating new joint ventures in industry, Kazakhstan insisted on additional investments in infrastructure, and Belarus, shortly before the third wave, asked to think about a unified strategy for sanitary protection. In the interests of citizens of all countries, Russia announced the imminent signing of an agreement on the exchange of credit histories within the framework of the EAEU, which will give them the opportunity to take out loans in all the countries of the “big five”.

Kazan as a negotiating platform for Eurasian integration

Welcoming the foreign guests who took part in the extended meeting, the Russian prime minister could not help but notice that Kazan disposes to signing friendly agreements with its hospitality.

“Even one of the main streets is named after the first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Abishevich Nazarbayev, who in fact has become the architect of Eurasian integration," Mikhail Mishustin reminded, after which each of the heads of government of the EAEU countries considered it their duty to say warm words in honour of the Tatarstan capital.

The deputy prime minister of Turkmenistan, Serdar Berdymukhamedov, supplemented the cocktail of compliments with, perhaps, the most subtle means. “Kazan remains one of the most ancient cities, which is famous for its cultural diversity and common traditions," he said, which endeared the eastern guests and the head of the Republic of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov.

The president of Tatarstan listened to every prime minister from the “big five” (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia), sometimes exchanging a couple of phrases with federal ministers. Moreover, the meeting was also attended by the heads of the observer states — Cuba, Moldova, the latter, as its head of government noted, lost 7% of GDP in the “coronacrisis”. Announcing the upcoming work, Mishustin said that that it was planned to sign a joint memorandum of cooperation between Uzbekistan and the EEC, as well as an action plan for its implementation for the next three years.

Loans to “non-residents”

Mikhail Mishustin acknowledged that the pandemic, regional crises, and trade wars, which are aggravated by Western interference in the internal affairs of other states, have exerted strong political and economic pressure. Even so, the Russian government is making effective decisions to “strengthen the single market, remove restrictions on the movement of goods, services, capital and labour”.

According to him, these measures are laid down in the programme of Eurasian integration until 2025 and some of them are already on the way. Mikhail Mishustin announced the readiness to sign an agreement on the procedure for exchanging credit histories within the union at the end of the year.

“Our citizens and legal entities will have the opportunity to take out loans in all the countries of the 'five'. Banks, accordingly, will have the opportunity to check information about borrowers," he explained.

We are also talking about labour migrants — previously they could not take out loans from Russian banks, as they were considered non-residents. Now Russian banks will have access to their credit histories.

Besides, work will continue on the creation of a common digital platform and joint initiatives in healthcare. The action plan has been approved, which involves the development of more than 10 international treaties and 60 normative legal acts of the union.

EAEU does not turn away from the EU

Mishustin addressed the participants of the council with the proposal to remove internal barriers to trade, called for coordinating measures to regulate exports within the framework of the EAEU.

“The situation with the coronavirus has significantly affected the world markets. Through the government, it is necessary to coordinate measures to regulate exports within the union to curb the growth of consumer prices," he said.

According to Mishustin, we are talking about agricultural products and raw materials. “This is a sensitive issue for the citizens of our countries," he stressed. Later, the head of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), Mikhail Myasnikovich, explained that the Russian Federation and the EAEU countries have sufficient volumes of sugar, grain, meat, and oil, “but we need to improve the management of these resources”.

Despite the reproach of Western interference, the EAEU does not intend to break off relations with the European Union. According to Mikhail Mishustin, the Eurasian Union is interested in developing equal relations and building a constructive dialogue. “The EAEU is a strong organisation, open for cooperation, and it should become the main link in building the Greater Eurasian Partnership," Mishustin said. He believes that, despite the foreign policy difficulties, it is necessary to maintain contacts with the closest partners.

“Of course, it is important to continue working together with other states on major economically sound projects, including those related to the Chinese Belt and Road initiative," he concluded.

“Travelling without COVID-19"

To combat the coronavirus while travelling in the countries of the Eurasian Union, Mikhail Mishustin called for using the mobile application 'Travelling without COVID19'. “One of the main topics on our agenda is still the fight against coronavirus, especially since the third wave of this disease is growing in a number of countries, primarily in Europe," the Russian prime minister said, opening the meeting of the expanded Eurasian Intergovernmental Council on Friday. According to him, “joint systemic measures are needed to contain the spread of infection”.

The head of the Russian Cabinet of Ministers reminded that “the convenient and reliable mobile application 'Travelling without COVID-19' has been launched, which downloads [the] negative test results for coronavirus made in certified laboratories”. “So far, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Russia are fully participating in the project. We expect that Kazakhstan will join us in the near future," Mishustin said.

He believes it is important to “develop the app, including by including data on vaccination”. “I believe that its widespread use will give the opportunity to quickly resume the safe passenger traffic that our citizens need," the Russian prime minister concluded.

Kazakhstan is for the construction of roads, and Belarus is for sanitary cleanliness

The head of the government of Kazakhstan, Askar Mamin, noted the improvement in the indicators of mutual trade between the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union. According to him, since the beginning of the year, mutual trade amounted to $9 billion, which is by 6,8% more than in the same period last year. The prime minister of Kazakhstan spoke in favour of accelerating the formation of common production systems, industrial cooperation, and increasing and concentrating processing potential. At the same time, he noted that it is necessary to look for additional sources of financing for industrial cooperation projects, including with the participation of state and quasi-state funds. As an example, he cited the agreement on co-investment between the direct investment funds of Kazakhstan, Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

At the same time, Mamin drew attention to the quality of infrastructure within the EAEU. The head of the government stressed that given the large-scale redistribution of international transport flows, the EAEU has the opportunity to increase its share in the international transport market and join the previously inaccessible external production chains. In turn, the head of the government of Belarus, Roman Golovchenko, asked to think about a unified strategy for sanitary protection before the third wave.

The participants of the EAEU Intergovernmental Council agreed to deepen localisation in industry, the head of the EEC Mikhail Myasnikovich told reporters at the end of the expanded meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council. According to him, the joint efforts will be made in the field of microelectronics, where Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus have accumulated experience and competencies. “We have a lot of joint programmes ahead of us, we need to strengthen and create new joint companies," he said.

In the closing speech at the meeting, Mikhail Myasnikovich promised to hold a large series of meetings and negotiations with business representatives of the EAEU member states.

“We plan and will definitely hold 40 summits with representatives of economic entities of our countries. In the first quarter, output in the manufacturing industries in Belarus is to increase by 9%, in Kazakhstan — by 7,5%, in the Russian Federation — by 3%," he said.

According to him, the volume of mutual trade this year has increased by 6,8% and most significantly increased with Kazakhstan — by 7,9%, with Belarus — by 3,9%.

By Luiza Ignatyeva. Photo: Maksim Platonov

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