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Armenia Says No Plans Yet To Switch To Single EEU Currency


Armenia -- A statue symbolizing the national currency, the dram, outside the Central Bank building in Yerevan.

Armenia -- A statue symbolizing the national currency, the dram, outside the Central Bank building in Yerevan.

Armenia has no plans nor has conducted any negotiations on a single Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) currency, a Central Bank official said on Wednesday, reacting to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s statement on the possibility of a monetary union.

On March 10, Putin reportedly ordered the Central Bank of Russia and the Russian Government to work in conjunction with the national banks of the EEU member states to determine by September 1 “the further directions of integration in the currency and financial spheres”. He also said that “the feasibility of establishing a monetary union within the framework of the EEU in the long term should be considered.”

The EEU was founded and launched by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan on January 1. Armenia joined the post-Soviet economic grouping on January 2.

“There is no document among those signed [by Armenia] within the framework of its accession to the EEU that would concern the feasibility study or prospects related to this matter,” Armenian Central Bank Board member Armenak Darbinian told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service (Azatutyun.am).

“At this moment there are no such plans and there are no such discussions at the Central Bank,” he added.

Still last April the Russian newspaper “Moskovsky Komsomolets” wrote, citing its sources in the Eurasian Economic Commission, that the EEU will have its single currency and that it will be called “altyn”. The publication claimed that unofficially the tentative name of the currency had been approved by the leaders in Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus. Sources also said that there were plans to create a Eurasian Central Bank with supranational powers that would be headquartered in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

“There have been no negotiations, no formal discussions in this direction yet. I would say more: the issue of forming a single financial market regulator was discussed within the framework of the EEU and it should happen after 2025. During this time, national laws and regulations should be harmonized and only then the issue can be put on the agenda,” said Darbinian, expressing the view that it will take years to ensure that conditions are created for switching to a single EEU currency.

“It cannot be an administrative decision. This requires relevant developments in the economy and in the financial markets,” the Central Bank official concluded.

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