Nazarbayev: There is and there will be no ‘restoration’ of the USSR in the Eurasian Union
Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev. ©REUTERS
Kazakhstan considers the Eurasian Union an open project that is unmaginable without broad interaction with the European Union, but there will be no restoration of the USSR, Nursultan Nazarbayev writes in the article called Eurasian Union: from the Idea to the History of the Future published in Izvestia newspaper. In the article Kazakhstan President continues the discussion on integration at the post-Soviet space started by Russian Prime-Minister Vladimir Putin and president of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko. Nazarbayev proposed the idea of creating the Eurasian Union in 1994. “Initially I saw the Eurasian Union as a union of countries based on the principles of equality, nonintervention into internal affaires, respect of sovereignty and integrity of state boundaries,” he writes. Currently Nazarbayev considers the Eurasian Union an open project that is hardly imaginable without broad interaction, for example, with the European Union and other unions. “There is and there will be now ‘restoration’ or ‘reincarnation’ of the USSR. These are just phantoms of the past, conjectures and speculations. Presidents of Russia, Belarus and other countries have the same opinion,” Nazarbayev writes. “Today we need to overcome the fears of the word ‘union’ and notorious ‘beginning of the empire’,” the President writes. According to him, each member-country is responsible for sustainability of its internal development, efficiency of the national economic, financial and social policies. Nazarbayev tagged incorrect the statement of some western experts that the Eurasian Union is aimed to become a protection from so-called Chinese economic expansion. “Economic interests, not some abstract geopolitical ideas and slogans, are the main drive of the integration processes,” he notes. That is why the practical stage of creation of the Common Economic Space (CES) is starting on January 1, 2012. According to the President, the CES will become a solid basis for transition to a higher integration stage, the Eurasian Economic Union. “This will be a powerful union. Joint GDP of three countries makes almost $2 trillion, industrial potential is estimated at $600 billion, volume of agricultural production is around $112 billion and the total consumption market is over 165 million people,” Nazarbayev writes in his article. “The Eurasian Union is a megaproject comparable to difficult challenges of the present and the past,” the President states. According to him, the project has all chances of becoming a natural part of the new world architecture that is being formed under the effect of the most powerful global financial-economic crisis in history. “The Eurasian Union has to be formed as a solid link joining together the Euro-Atlantic and Asian development realms. Economically we can become a bridge connecting the dynamic economies of the European Union, East, South-East and South Asia,” the President writes. Nazarbayev notes that creation of a currency union under the CES is the Rubicon taht would enable a new integration level close to the current status of the European Union. “Our main objective is to convince our neighbors of the importance and viability of our union. Then there could be more than 3 countries in this union,” the President states.