14 January 2014, 11:10

Russia suggests EU think about cooperation in European, Eurasian integration processes

The Customs Union

The Customs Union

The Customs Union

The Customs Union is not a geopolitical rival of the European Union and it is necessary to think about cooperation between the European and Eurasian integration processes, Russia's envoy to the EU Vladimir Chizhov said. This is the essence of the Customs Union's proposal to the EU, Chizhov said when speaking on January 13 at the European Policy Center in Brussels.

Russia immediately accepted the offer of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych to hold trilateral talks between Ukraine, Russia and the EU regarding the possible consequences of Kyiv's European integration, while Brussels rejected it at once, Chizhov said.

The opinion that the latest events taking place in Ukraine seriously deteriorated relations between Russia and the EU has rooted itself in the EU, the envoy said.

First, no stagnation exists in the relations between Russia and the EU, second, these relations are in no way limited by Ukraine and third, Ukraine is a sovereign country, which makes its own choices and decisions, Chizhov said.

The Customs Union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and its current candidates - Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - is not a geopolitical rival of the EU and not a revival of the Soviet Union, Chizhov said.

It is rather a part in the development of the natural integration process, a mutually beneficial restoration of historic economic ties within the region, he said.

The results of the Eastern Partnership in Vilnius have showed once again the necessity of establishing stable political and economic bridges in the region, Chizhov said.

Instead of imposing a fallacious geopolitical choice between the European and Eurasian integration paths on the countries of the region, it is necessary to search for ways to harmonize the European and Eurasian integration processes, Chizhov said.

This long-term task is absolutely in line with the road map for the Common Space of the EU and Russia in foreign security passed in 2005, he said.

The majority of pro-EU protestors in Kyiv did not have any idea of the contents of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and thought that it would immediately provide them with freedom of movement and the ability to work in the EU or that it would bring Ukraine great financial aid, Chizhov said.

The automobile industry is an example of the huge difficulties awaiting Ukraine if the country switches to European standards and regulations, the envoy said.

Sensitive sectors, for instance the defense sector, will have even more difficulties, he said.

In the relatively near future, a strategic partnership will emerge between the EU as it presently exists and what will be the result of the Eurasian integration process, Chizhov said.

These processes will form two of the three pillars of the Euro-Atlantic civilization - Europe, Russian and North America, he said.

The envoy said he would like them to develop in unison and in close cooperation.

Voice of Russia, Interfax

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