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Yerevan Insists On Ex-Soviet Common Energy Market


Armenia - Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian (C) and other Armenian officials participate in a virtual summit of the Eurasian Economic Union, Yerevan, May 21, 2021.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian again called on Friday for the creation of a single energy market that could lower the cost of Russian natural gas imported by Armenia and other members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).

The gas price is currently significantly lower for consumers in Russia than other ex-Soviet states making up the Russian-led trade bloc. Two of them, Armenia and Belarus, have said that this puts their manufactures reliant on gas in a disadvantaged position vis-à-vis their Russian competitors. Over the past year they have pressed Moscow to agree to uniform EEU energy tariffs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly opposed that in May 2020, implying that Yerevan and Minsk should agree first to deeper economic integration with Moscow which would result in a “single budget and system of taxation” for all EEU member states.

Pashinian insisted on the idea when he spoke at a virtual EEU summit attended by Putin. “We attach great importance to the formation of the union’s common gas market,” he said.

He added that Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan should also agree on “nondiscriminatory” transit fees for gas imported by them from third countries.

Pashinian noted that the creation of a “full-fledged common market for goods and services” is hampered not only by differences among the EEU member states but also “some objective difficulties.” “We continue to look for constructive solutions,” he said.

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