Updated at 11:50,16-10-2017

Eurasian Economic Union: Lukashenka insists on common markets of oil, gas

Belsat / BelaPAN

The Treaty on the Formation of the Eurasian Economic Union should be more economic than political, Aliaksandr Lukashenka suggested while meeting Tuesday in Minsk with Viktor Khristenko, chairman of the Eurasian Economic Commission.

I would like to know from you what predominates in it, politics or economy, Mr Lukashenka said, according to the presidential press office. I would like the latter. Certainly, we cannot do without politics, but nonetheless, it is going to be an economic union.

At the same time, Viktor Khristenko told reporters in Minsk following a meeting of the presidents of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia and a session of the three countries Supreme Eurasian Economic Council that the member countries will have common markets of crude oil, petroleum products and natural gas no later than 2025.

According to him, the presidents are expected to approve concepts for common oil, petroleum product and gas markets in 2016. A program for the establishment of such markets is to be adopted in 2018.

As Mr Khristenko said, in order to set up the single markets, the member countries will have to sign special interstate agreements specified in the draft Treaty on the Formation of the Eurasian Economic Union.

Issues concerning relations in the field of oil, petroleum products and gas will be settled by 2015 in accordance with existing agreements signed in 2010 and in accordance with additional bilateral agreements that will be signed to ensure a status of relations in these spheres that would satisfy all the parties for the entire period until the common markets are established, Mr Khristenko said.

The agreements will be in force until new accords on the common markets of oil, petroleum products and natural gas take effect, he noted. If this happens before 2025, which is possible under the treaty, they will come into force earlier, he added.

The issue of export duty on petroleum products will, for the time being, continue to be settled on a bilateral basis, Mr Khristenko said.

In his turn, Aliaksandr Lukashenka said that he was concerned about the idea of postponing the establishment of common oil, petroleum product and gas markets.

The integration of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia should not be turned into a process for the sake of the process, the Belarusian leader said.

The innovative proposal to implement our agreements 10 years from now, by 2025, sounds strange to say the least, Mr Lukashenka noted.

There should be no duties and restrictions on the movement of goods within the union, he stressed.