Lukashenka criticizes EAEU

The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) has not lived up to the expectations of member states, with many agreements reached between them remaining unfulfilled, Alyaksandr Lukashenka said Monday in Russia's Sochi, speaking at a session of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council.

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Mr. Lukashenka said that the EAEU had failed to create a level playing field for the member states' businesses and there was no free trade within the grouping, according to the Kremlin's press office. "From time to time the interests of certain manufacturers are put above decisions that we have made," he said. "That runs counter to our agreements."

Mr. Lukashenka welcomed steps to consider ways of "not only settling but also preventing disputes" within the bloc.

He urged the member states to "put on a united front" and overcome their differences amid what he said was "external pressure on the union."

He also called for settling trade disputes within the grouping exclusively through the Eurasian Economic Commission.

"Unfortunately, programs to form common markets of gas, oil and petroleum products are not ready for discussion at the highest level again," said Mr. Lukashenka. "Hopefully, we will sign these fundamental documents by the end of this year at least. And one should not suspect Belarus of pursuing its own interests here. We have agreed to solve the matter, that means that it must be solved."

"Our integration project will be developing only if the four major freedoms declared in the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty are observed. It is extremely important to appreciate and observe the agreements that have been reached, solve the most difficult problems based on the rules that we have created ourselves, respect each other as is customary in relations between allies and business partners. Belarus is committed to this style of future relations," Mr. Lukashenka concluded.