May 6 – May 12, 2024
Belarus-Russia relations

How to Cure the EAEU? Recipes from Lukashenko

The situation has not changed
How to Cure the EAEU? Recipes from Lukashenko

The Belarusian regime has significantly activated its presence across all post-Soviet platforms. This time, Lukashenka made his mark at the anniversary summit of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), where he proposed his own plan for the union’s development.

On May 8th in Moscow, the anniversary meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council (SEEC) took place with the participation of EAEU member state leaders: President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, President of Kyrgyzstan Sadyr Japarov, and the formal leaders of Russia and Belarus – Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenka.

It’s worth noting that within two days, Lukashenka managed to make his presence felt at four events: the EAEU summit itself, negotiations with Putin, the Victory Day parade on May 9th in Moscow, and then at similar celebrations in Minsk. In doing so, he pleased everyone (including himself and Putin) and actively spoke out on each occasion and on every issue.

During the EAEU summit, unlike the main speakers who praised the union for developing trade relations, Lukashenka allowed himself several critical remarks. Specifically, he proposed his own plan for the union’s development, consisting of seven main points:

  1. More serious attention should be paid to the problem of trade barriers. “In reality, the market is protected (by EAEU states – ed.) not from imports from third countries, but from goods and services produced within our union,” the politician concluded.
  2. The international positioning of the union should be improved by leveraging the potential for EAEU countries and CIS partners to participate simultaneously in the SCO and BRICS.
  3. Increasing financial support for industrial cooperation is a mandatory condition for development. Lukashenko requested the Eurasian Economic Commission to get involved in this work and to also engage business unions.
  4. The politician also emphasized unhindered access to government procurement – this “requires immediate resolution.”
  5. Digitalization needs to be activated and focus should be placed on the quickest possible recognition of electronic digital signatures. “We have been talking about this for not the first year. All principal agreements have long been reached, but the issue still persists,” Lukashenko stated.
  6. Efforts on digitalization of technical regulations, development of the transport sector, and establishment of a continuous information exchange channel with SCO countries, primarily China, need to be strengthened.
  7. Finally, the politician focused separately on food security. In his view, efforts should be made to improve the work on standardizing requirements related to the handling of agricultural products and to more actively introduce innovative approaches in the agro-industrial complex.

Meanwhile, “Lukashenka’s plan” is an excessive improvisation on the theme of EAEU development — the development strategy of the union is defined at the SEEC meeting and includes a series of documents. These include the Declaration on Further Development of Economic Processes within the EAEU until 2030 and for the period until 2045 – the “Eurasian Economic Path.” Key guidelines for macroeconomic policy for 2024-2025 and the main directions of the EAEU’s international activities for 2024 have also been approved. Moreover, the situation regarding the elimination of barriers and reduction of exceptions and restrictions on the internal market of the union was substantively discussed.

It is noticeable that the regime has seriously activated its presence across all post-Soviet platforms including the Union State, EAEU, CIS, CSTO — and is focused on using the potential of the SCO and BRICS. Lukashenka, in turn, uses virtually every opportunity, including meetings with Putin and Russian governors, to lobby his interests and convey his position on various issues to potential listeners. This is a quite obvious consequence of the sanctions regime implemented by the West against the Belarusian regime. It should be noted that in the rhetoric of official Minsk, the thesis that “sanctions do not work” is used less and less.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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