For the first time since the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) was established in 2015 all of its member states have registered economic growth, Tigran Sargsian, the president of the Eurasian Economic Commission’s Board, said on Friday during a gathering of the prime ministers of the Russian-led trade bloc in Kazan.
Sargsian, who represents Armenia’s rotating presidency of the EEU, said that it was only in 2016-2017 that the member states agreed to eliminate 60 barriers in the internal market and reached major agreements in the electricity, oil, gas and transportation sectors.
The EEU, whose founding members are Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, also include Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Some opposition members in Yerevan have criticized the government’s decision to join the EEU despite the fact that Armenia has no land border with the rest of the union’s members. Besides, some critics also believe that Armenia, which has no fuel resources, does not fit into the customs union led by such major oil and gas producers as Russia and Kazakhstan. They pointed to the poor economic performance of Armenia that followed its accession to the EEU. Armenia’s government, on the contrary, has all along defended its decision regarding the EEU membership, arguing that otherwise the country would have fared much worse in conditions of global economic turbulence.
Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetian attended the May 26 gathering of the prime ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including EEU member states, in the capital of the Russian republic of Tatarstan.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated that trade among EEU member countries has increased almost threefold.
In Kazan, the heads of CIS member countries’ governments signed a number of documents aimed at deepening cooperation in various fields, in particular in the fields of innovative cooperation and international transportation. The next meeting of the CIS Council of Heads of Government is scheduled to be held in November.
The Armenian governmental delegation led by Prime Minister Karapetyan also participated in the official reception given on behalf of the Russian prime minister to the delegations attending the gathering.
The only intrigue of the meeting was the absence of the Moldovan prime minister, who boycotted the event due to some disagreements between Russia and Moldova.
In Kazan, Karapetian also held a bilateral meeting with Belarus Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov. According to a press release of the Armenian government, the prime ministers of the two countries discussed the agenda of Armenian-Belarusian economic relations and prospects of their further development.