Putin unveils renewed foreign policy: Creation of the Eurasian Union

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Monday unveiled a renewed foreign policy declaration on the possible new presidency in 2012. His new message is a modification of his old idea of single economic space from Lisbon to Vladivostok, but now this space, according to the future Presidential candidate, looks like partnership between the two major integration groupings – the European Union with a population of 400 million people and the Eurasian Union (about 200 million people).

The Customs Union and the Common Economic Space, created by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan is expected to become the basis for setting up the Eurasian Union, Putin wrote in an article that was published by the Izvestia daily on Tuesday. However, “we are not going to hurry or push anyone,” said Putin in the article which was released by Itar-Tass. “This must be a sovereign decision of the state, dictated by its own long-term national interests,” Putin stressed.

“Some of our neighbours explain their unwillingness to participate in integration processes in the post-Soviet space, saying that this is allegedly at variance with their European choice,” the prime minister said, adding that it is erroneous. “We are not going to cut ourselves off from anyone or stand against anyone,” he stressed.

According to Putin, “the Eurasian Union will be built on universal integration principles as an inalienable part of Greater Europe, united by common values of freedom, democracy and market laws”.

Putin reminded the readers that “back in 2003, Russia and the European Union agreed on the formation of a common economic space, coordination of rules of economic activity without setting up supra-national structures”.

In developing this idea, “we offered Europeans to think together about setting up a harmonious community of economies from Lisbon to Vladivostok, about a zone of free trade and even more advanced forms of integration, about the development of coordinated policy in the sphere of industry, technologies, power engineering, education and science, and finally about the removal of visa barriers,” the prime minister stressed.

“These offers did not hang in the air – they are discussed in detail by European colleagues,” he added. Now, “the Customs Union and in the future the Eurasian Union will become participants in a dialogue with the European Union,” he said.

“Thus, membership in the Eurasian Union, apart from direct economic benefits, will enable its members to integrate into Europe faster and from a much stronger position,” he emphasized.

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