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Advantages and disadvantages of Kyrgyzstan's accession into EEU 14 августа 2015, 18:59

Kazakhstani political analysts discuss advantages and disadvantages of Kyrgyzstan's accession into the Eurasian Economic Union.
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Kazakh experts Marat Shibutov, Yerlan Karin and Dosym Satpayev ©Tengrinews.kz Kazakh experts Marat Shibutov, Yerlan Karin and Dosym Satpayev ©Tengrinews.kz

The customs border between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan has been officially lifted with the accession of Kyrgyzstan into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) on August 12. The order to open the borders was given at the official ceremony through a teleconference by two presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev and Almazbek Atambayev.

Tengrinews spoke to Kazakhstani political analysts asking about advantages and disadvantages that come with Kyrgyzstan entering the EEU. 

According to the experts, Kyrgyzstan’s membership in the EEU is ambiguous with respect to security issues. In particular, political scientist Marat Shibutov thinks that an increase in weapons and drug trafficking from Afghanistan is quite possible.

"Since the customs posts are removed, people and goods that are traveling to us from Kyrgyzstan will not be inspected. Accordingly, given the presence in Kyrgyzstan of a large number of weapons 'lost' in 2010, and the presence of a permanent channel of drug trafficking from Afghanistan Badakhshan-Horog-Osh, it would be logical to await an increase in trafficking of weapons and drugs to Kazakhstan. This will create big problems for law enforcement agencies and undermine our political stability as drugs and weapons may be used not only by organized crime groups but also by terrorists," he said.

In turn, political analyst Dosym Satpayev said that problems related to drug trafficking and terrorism had existed before the entry of Kyrgyzstan into the EEU. From the very beginning Satpayev has opposed expansion of the Eurasian Economic Union and was rather skeptical about its creation.

"Experience shows that even now among the three major parties (Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus) there are many contradictions and tensions. Especially against the background of the not-very-friendly policies involving public destruction of sanctioned food. Inclusion of other participants, namely Armenia and Kyrgyzstan, in many ways will be a disadvantage rather than an advantage. From an economic point of view, the two countries are not of particular interest, furthermore, there is a risk that Armenia and Kyrgyzstan may turn into an analogue of Greece, who will constantly need 'feeding'," he said.

With regard to security, it is necessary to proceed from the fact that effective fight against drug trafficking, extremism and terrorism does not depend on whether Kyrgyzstan participates in the EEU or not. It depends on close cooperation between law enforcement agencies in Central Asia. As the practice shows, international terrorist organizations are quite serious international structures that effectively use contradictions that exist between our countries. Even if Kyrgyzstan had not entered the economic union, the problem with security, in any case, would have stayed there," he said.

Director of the Kazakhstan Institute of Strategic Research (KISR) Yerlan Karin noted that there were risks associated with accession of the new Central Asian member, but there were positive aspects as well.

"All risks have been calculated thoroughly. But the abolition of customs control on the border of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan does not mean that borders remain completely unsupervised. It is too simplistic of an understanding. Movement of citizens in any case will be regulated. And the expansion of economic integration between our two countries in a strategic sense will have a positive impact on the security of the entire region. In particular, the Kyrgyz economy will receive a new impetus for quality development, while the improvement of its socio-economic situation will make the country less vulnerable to the influence of destructive factors and unstable domestic political situation. It's better than shutting off neighbors with high fences," the analyst said.

With Kyrgyzstan’s entry into the EEU, products from Kyrgyzstan will enter Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus and Armenia free of customs duties. Kyrgyzstan will also be getting cheaper products from the member countries. Customs control has been lifted from 8 checkpoints on the Kyrgyz-Kazakh border: Ak-Zhol road, Chaldybar road, Ak-Tilek road, Ken-Bulun road, Tokmok road, Karkyra road, Chon-Kapka road and Kaindy railway.

The Eurasian Economic Union is an economic union of Russia, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. It has an integrated single market of 183 million people and a gross domestic product of over 4 trillion dollars (PPP). The union introduces the free movement of goods, capital, services and people and provides for common transport, agriculture and energy policies.

Reporting by Aizhan Tugelbayeva, writing by Dinara Urazova


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