Russia sets time framework for Armenia’s accession to Customs Union

Russia sets time framework for Armenia’s accession to Customs Union

Photo: www.government.ru

The documents on Armenia’s joining the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan will be ready by May 2014 when it is planned to sign an agreement on the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union, First Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Igor Shuvalov said on Monday, according to RIA Novosti.

“Experts say that simultaneously drafting the agreement on the Eurasian Economic Union, we can reach agreement with the candidates joining the Customs Union that the main provisions of that first level of integration can be coordinated by May of next year,” said Shuvalov during consultations held by Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

He reminded that besides Armenia an application to join the Customs Union has also been made by Kyrgyzstan.

“We are carrying out the necessary work so as to prepare an agreement on the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union by May of next year, and we are implementing a complex of measures so that the Union could start operating from January 1, 2015,” added Shuvalov.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Medvedev reportedly stressed that joining the Customs Union will “open up additional opportunities” for Armenia.

The Armenian leadership has already announced that it is going to submit about 50 bills to the National Assembly to be passed for preparing the legislative framework for Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union.

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan announced after talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow on September 3 that Armenia was willing to join the Russia-led Customs Union and subsequently take part in preparations for the establishment of the Eurasian Economic Union.

The European Union reacted to the development by warning that Armenia’s membership in the Russia-led integration processes was incompatible with its offer of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, a deal that Armenia was due to initial as part of the broader Association Agreement at the EU Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, in November.

Armenia, though, signaled its readiness to continue political dialogue with the EU as far as Armenia’s membership in the apparently competing Customs Union could allow.

It is still not clear whether Armenia will go ahead with the initialing of at least a watered-down version of the document.