Putin: Moldova should have discussed with Moscow possible risks for Russia before signing association agreement with EU

Moldova should have discussed with Moscow possible risks for the Russian economy before signing its association agreement with the European Union, Vladimir Putin said Friday in Minsk, speaking at a meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).

Vladimir Putin

Russia has never been opposed to other countries’ rapprochement with the EU and wants such rapprochement for itself, but the question is on what conditions, Mr. Putin said, responding to Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti’s criticism of Russia’s attitude to the signing by Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia of association agreements with the EU in June.

“Problems are not created because the Russian Federation takes protective and retaliatory measures, but because our partners do not consider it necessary to discuss timely, openly, fully, substantially and professionally all the risks that emerge for the Russian economy and for other countries of the Commonwealth in connection with the impact of free trade zones’ rules after our partners join other trade and economic alliances,” the Russian president said.

Russia should think what effects these agreements will have on its own market, how European goods will get into its market and what volume of goods will get into the Russian market and other markets in the CIS free trade zone in the guise of locally manufactured goods, Mr. Putin noted.

According to him, a timely settlement of these issues would have made it possible to avoid the current problems in Russia’s relations with Moldova and Ukraine. It is not easy to fully harmonize the association agreements signed with the EU by Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine with agreements signed within the framework of the CIS, primarily the October 18, 2011 free-trade agreement, but Russia is ready to work to find a solution in order not to lose the ties existing within the CIS in the industrial, financial, agricultural and financial sectors, Mr. Putin said.

He stressed that Russia had been guided by this approach while holding “intensive consultations” with the EU and Ukraine and, as a result, the parties had “managed to agree on the postponement of the implementation of the economic section of the association agreement until December 31, 2015.” According to Mr. Putin, it is necessary to work out all differences and find compromise solutions by this date, in which he said the signatory states of the CIS free-trade agreement are all, without exception, interested.

Russia wanted a similar process to be held with regard to Moldova’s association agreement with the EU, Mr. Putin noted. “We wanted and repeatedly proposed that, but unfortunately we never received a clear response from our Moldovan colleagues,” he said. // BelaPAN